The Commonwealth Esports Championships came to an emotional conclusion on Sunday at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham, with the partnership between the Global Esports Federation and the Commonwealth Games Federation getting a big thumbs up from athletes, Member Federations, and fans (both in person and those watching online) alike.
England’s dominant Rocket League Womens Team powered to the first gold medal of the day, with Northern Ireland performing brilliantly to take the gold medal in the eFootball™ series Womens.
A remarkable DOTA 2 Open final ended the weekend in style, with Malaysia emerging victorious, to top the medal table.
England prevail in derby struggle to triumph in Rocket League Womens
England and Scotland have one of the oldest rivalries in sport, and it was the English that came out on top in the newest chapter of their sporting history.
The English team was outspoken ahead of the match and delivered in the arena.
“We were very confident, we know how good we are, but to then go out on the stage and prove it is incredible,” said Bella “Crimson” Selwood. “It’s an unreal feeling to have esports at the Commonwealth, to play for your country. There are so few words to describe it.
“The nerves hit us a bit. It’s a different environment up there on that incredible stage with a live audience. You’re next to your teammate, and you can look over and say: ‘damn right’. There is a rivalry with Scotland, although I play with Sophie from their team, and we are all friends.
“I’d love to be an inspiration; they are looking to include this in the Commonwealth Games. I love it if young girls think ‘there is a place for me, there is a scene for me’. I feel incredible.”
The Scots were gracious in defeat. “We came into it knowing England was the strongest team,” said Jordan Drummond. “We lost against them in the group stage. It was great to meet again, it was like a revenge thing. We improved a lot, and we made the games a lot closer than we expected them to be. I’m happy.
“There aren’t that many females playing esports and being able to be part of this competition is overwhelming. It hasn’t really kicked in yet that this has been a thing. It makes everything so much more open and gives females more opportunities.”
Australia grabbed bronze, beating Canada. “We are feeling incredible, and the atmosphere in there was amazing,” said Morgan “QueenMorgie” Medlyn. “It was a tough game, they had us sweating, and it has been a pleasant surprise to get a medal.”
“Gaming saved my life” – high emotion as Northern Ireland wins eFootball™ series Womens
The eFootball™ series event was a celebration of inclusion, with trans athlete Emma “Emzii” Rose winning gold for Northern Ireland, showing skill and composure to beat Amey Fisher of Wales in the gold medal match.
“For me, and for everyone like me, we are showing that you can do it too,” she said. “A lot of sports, they don’t let trans women take part. For a lot of normal life, they don’t let trans women take part. But I’m here. I’ve won gold, let’s go.
“The speech I made afterward on the stage was from the heart. Gaming did save my life. I struggled, and I still struggle, with mental health issues. Gaming has always been my escape.
“The fact I can turn it into this energy and bring it to a stage is great. Sometimes you think you aren’t worth it, but you are. Sometimes you think you shouldn’t be here, but you should.
“Be yourself, and as long as you can say at the end of the day, ‘I’m me, I’m happy,’ people who love you will get over it, and people around you will respect you more for it.
“During the game I had so much energy, I felt like entertaining people and doing what I could do. The goals kept coming. And in the second game Amey was amazing, she was a lot more composed. She played out of her skin, but I was able to come back and bring the medal home.
“Gaming is huge, and I’m so grateful to the GEF for putting on this event. Gaming is for everyone.”
Jones was also in a buoyant mood. “I am currently four months pregnant, so I will go home and chill, have the baby and see how I feel in a few years,” she said. “Hopefully I can come back next time if I’m still good enough, see if I can kick some butts.”
Alexandra Harvey of England won bronze after losing to Fisher in the semifinal. “I’m happy with the bronze, because coming into this, I was the least experienced player in eFootball™ series,” she said. “To leave with a medal is incredible.”
Malaysia triumphed in DOTA 2 Open thriller, and top medal table
An enthusiastic crowd poured into the ICC to witness one of the highlights of the weekend: the DOTA 2 Open Grand Final.
Two of the most accomplished teams in the whole tournament, the professional outfits of England and Malaysia faced off, with Malaysia winning the first map, England striking back in the second, and Malaysia clinching the crucial decider.
“I’m feeling great,” said Malaysian captain Kwok Teong “MangO ROSE” Yeoh afterward. “The game was pretty exciting, and we had to play really hard. It was tough. This has been such a nice experience for us overall. It is my first time overseas and it has been great to play here.
“The Malaysia fans in the crowd were brilliant. It was like playing at home. I’d like to thank them for their support, it was so loud, and it really meant a lot.”
The result means Malaysia tops the #CEC2022 medal table, with three golds. Host England impressed in second place, with one gold, three silvers, and a bronze. Wales completes the top three with a gold, silver, and bronze.
“I have no idea what makes Malaysia so good at esports, but we must have a lot of talented players to do this,” said MangO ROSE.
England took the silver medal. “We prepared well, but during the game, we basically lost our footing and the enemy took a really big advantage,” said Jason “TANNER” Weedon.
“In game two we came back strong. We did very well and that was a deserved win. In the third game, we were ahead, and I felt like we had the better draft, but the execution was just off.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling. I felt like we could have got gold. But in the end, the Commonwealth Esports Championships was a great event and I’m pleased we came out to play.”
India beat New Zealand to the bronze medal. “I’m feeling very happy about it, the game was very close and could go any way, we were so excited, and the atmosphere was absolutely pumped up,” said Moin “NO_Chan3” Ejaz. “I’ve loved all the people here and it’s been really thrilling.”
NO_Chan3 could have been speaking for everyone at this event – one filled with friendship, happiness and thrills all weekend long, and absolutely #worldconnected.