The Global Esports Federation made history at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham on Saturday, as the first medals were handed out in the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships
Wales won gold in the Rocket League Open in the opening action, while Malaysia enjoyed a sensational day by securing gold in both eFootball™ series Open, and DOTA 2 Womens.
Wales secure first medal of #CEC2022 to a sea of hometown cheers
The day kicked off with the Rocket League Open, with Wales winning gold in the Grand Finals, defeating rivals England in the final with some brilliant play. Australia took bronze after defeating Team #worldconnected (South Africa).
“It’s unbelievable, we weren’t sure that we’d even get here, then we weren’t sure we’d get out of the groups, we felt like underdogs,” said Wales’ Euan “Tadpole” Ingram, who is retiring as a player after this tournament.
“It’s my last game as a player, I’m retiring after playing for the last four or five years professionally, so it was amazing. This stage is incredible to play on, it has that unbelievably professional aspect to it.
“A lot of my family are watching on the stream, and we’ve had a massive amount of support here in the arena.”
He also praised the Global Esports Federation’s historic partnership event with the Commonwealth Games Federation.
“I love real sports and I love gaming, and this is the first time the line has been crossed – it is the perfect mix of the two,” said Tadpole. “This event is all about esports and traditional sports meeting. It has been done right, done properly, and it can become a big global event. I follow the Commonwealth Games.”
His teammate Owain “Foxy” Lamb was just as delighted. “Having so many Welsh fans here to support us, and to be with Tadpole on his retirement game, it is amazing.
“It is the best thing I’ve ever done. I had a tear in my eye, my mum was crying, I was crying. It is ridiculous. To not lose a game, to go in as underdogs. To win the first esports Commonwealth event is unreal, it only comes round every four years, it is very special.”
England won silver but wasn’t hugely disappointed. “We are lost for words,” said Kurtis “Kash” Cannon. “We want to see this event at the next Commonwealth Games, and hopefully one day it makes it to the Olympics. It could get that big. This is what I love to do, and competing is the icing on the cake.”
Bronze medal winner from Australia, Joshua “Kaka” Watters, added: “Everyone is watching back home, so it’s been great to do this for Australia.”
Malaysia romp to eFootball™ series glory
Throughout the playoffs, eFootball™ series proved a fierce contest, with Malaysia and Scotland, in particular, catching the eye with their aggressive, skillful play – so it was no surprise to see the two nations make it to the final.
The pair had contested some great games during the week, but on Grand Finals day, it was Malaysia’s Mohamad “Haikal” Md Noh that defeated Scotland’s Gary “Big Stuff” McInnes, winning two games to secure the best-of-three format.
“I am so happy, this is my dream,” said Haikal. “I have been waiting for this for years. It means so much to the people back home, lots of people are watching online, and I can hear all the messages coming in for me already. This is my first time away from home and I have loved being here in Birmingham.”
Big Stuff was gracious after receiving the silver. “Obviously I would have liked to get the gold, but my aim here was to get a medal. That’s what I’ve done, so I can’t be harsh on myself. There is definitely some more work to be done for the next one – but it was fun.”
Cerith Dennis of Wales was also delighted with bronze after beating Gibraltar. “Going on stage was scary and surreal, but winning a medal, I wouldn’t have dreamed it. It’s a good feeling winning something on your own, but doing it for your country, it’s totally different. My dad was going crazy in the crowd. I’m going to keep grinding and I hope I can compete in the worlds.”
Double joy for Malaysia as nation ends day with win in DOTA 2 thriller
Malaysia defeated England by two games to nil in the DOTA 2 Womens Grand Finals to conclude a superb opening day for the nation.
“It has only just sunk in that I’ve won, we were so in the zone – but I’m really happy and proud,” said team captain Stephanie “Auroraa” Lim. “It has been an amazing day for Malaysia with the eFootball medal too.
“I will be waving my flag when I get back to the village. And we will be eating whatever we want. We abstain from fried food and oily food before we play, so we are going to enjoy it.
“What makes Malaysia so good at games? We have a lot of different cultures in our country but we come together very well, and that is our strength.”
England got silver and “ Emily “Gimmick” Huxley thought it was a fair result – and a great learning curve.
“It’s quite amazing. It’s my and Karen’s first esports tournament, so winning a medal is a big honour.
“Obviously it’s always hard to lose, but Malaysia is such a great team. They’ve been training together for so many years, we have the utmost respect for them. They have this really good understanding of each other and really good confidence.
“We’ve only played together for a few months. We’re still learning each other’s play styles so I think over time we will get much better. I think if we can play them again at another tournament we will give them a really good run for their money.”
Singapore won the bronze, beating Australia. “I’m so excited, we had fun and it has given us all such a confidence boost, especially as we lost games in the group stages. We have come back,” said Paula “Xiaoma” Teo.
“It has been a well organised event, putting alongside the Commonwealth sport was a great idea. The hospitality was great and the people are great too.”
Sheng “KazeL” Ho added: “We are #worldconnected because we have made so many friends – especially with the UK team and the Malaysia and Australia team, which is great.”