THE silver medal is worth its weight in gold for everyone in the national esports team.
Competing in the Arena of Valor, the team comprising captain Lai Chia Chien, Eng Jun Hao, Ong Jun Yang, Ng Kai Shuan, Chong Han Hui and Yong Zhan Qua had to settle for silver after going down 0-2 to China in the final on Tuesday.
Despite falling short, it was a watershed moment for the players and coach as it will contribute to the growth of esports in the country.
The players had to contend with stereotypes and overcome numerous challenges to pursue their esports career in Malaysia, where it is not one of the core sports.
Coach Stanley Low was disheartened when he saw many young, talented players giving up due to these challenges and had even contemplated leaving the team after the Asiad.
But all that will change for sure now, says Stanley.
“Malaysian esports scene had faced many struggles, and I have witnessed many talented and passionate players giving up their dreams due to the harsh environment and eventually lose their way,” stated Stanley on his social media.
“Over the years, I had to strive to showcase the positive side of esports – an activity that is a healthy, disciplined and serious sport. I hope to reshape the public perceptions and gain recognition from the government and game developers.
“To be honest, I have grown tired over the years and even considered quitting after the Asian Games... but at the last moment, I saw hope.
“It was the positive mindset and unity among this year’s group of players that encouraged me to persevere. Each tear they shed and the emotions they expressed were the key to our success at the Asian Games.”
Stanley hopes that their achievement in Hangzhou will contribute to the further development of esports in Malaysia, and that players in this sport will receive the same recognition and support as athletes in other major sports.
“What I hope to witness next is the establishment of a national esports training programme in Malaysia,” said Stanley.
“I hope to see esports becoming as professional as other top-tier sports in the country.
“I wish that all potential players and coaches have opportunities for experimentation and growth, ultimately nurturing the best talent for Malaysia and selecting the most exceptional line-up in upcoming national events.”