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GEG Day 1: ‘I cannot think of another city that suits #worldconnected so well’

First day hailed a huge success, and Istanbul as the embodiment of GEF’s principles


Istanbul: 'Proud to host #GEG22'.
Istanbul: 'Proud to host #GEG22'. Ben Queenborough/GEF

If there is a perfect example of the right place at the right time, it is the Istanbul 2022 Global Esports Games.


“The motto of the Global Esports Federation is #worldconnected – and I cannot think of any other city that suits this motto so well,” said Renay Onur, the General Manager and Board Member, Spor Istanbul.


“Napoleon had a saying – ‘If the world was a country, Istanbul would be its capital’. We are proud to host this event,” Onur said. “It is also showing the world where esports is going. It is thrilling to be at the center of this change.”


Global Esports Federation hosted its third General Assembly at the Istanbul 2022 Global Esports Games
Global Esports Federation hosted its third General Assembly at the Istanbul 2022 Global Esports Games. Photo: Ben Queenborough/GEF

The first day at the GEG featured the third GEF General Assembly, the eighth GEF Board Meeting, and the worldwide launch of the Global Esports Academy, as well as GEFcon, a convening of global thought leaders, including Onur.


He is at the center of an organization which has joined forces with the GEF to make the event happen. After an excellent debut GEG in Singapore last year, he knew the pressure was on to deliver.


“I was in Singapore in the middle of Covid, and it was a very solid step under very difficult conditions,” Onur said. “The event was made there. The first event is important, but the second event is as important, because if that is solid, you keep on running.


“We hope we are raising the bar. Istanbul is so diverse, and so is esports. It doesn’t matter your gender, race, ethnicity, if you are living with a disability – you are able to play esports. It is strong among the young generation in Istanbul. They have a passion for esports, and it fits in like parts of a puzzle.


“The Member Federations and the athletes need to send a strong message to the world at a time when the world needs this message – we just want to be together.”


‘We have been given such a warm welcome’

Alper Özdemir, President of the Turkish Esports Federation, was equally enthusiastic. “We are happy that we can host more than 300 athletes from 65 countries in our beautiful city,” he said. “I hope these days will be joyful and competitive.


“The esports scene in Türkiye is incredible because we have a very young population. The Turkish Esports Federation was founded in 2018 and esports was recognized as sport that same year.


“We love having the GEG, and it can have a huge impact here. Esports is a huge ecosystem, and we hope the crowds really enjoy the matches. The venue is amazing, and our city is not bad either! This is a benchmark event, and we’d like to thank GEF for bringing it here.”


While the local contingent was delighted about the GEF’s flagship event finally getting underway following a year of planning, GEF President Chris Chan was equally pleased with the reception that Istanbul has offered.


“We have been given such a warm welcome to this fantastic city, and it is wonderful to have the second GEG finally underway,” he said.


“It has been a really exciting day, with some exceptional speakers at GEFcon, and Istanbul is the perfect hub for a truly #worldconnected forum like this.


“Adding to that the worldwide launch of the Global Esports Academy, and it has been a historic day for GEF. We could not think of a better place than Istanbul for this to happen.”


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