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Riyadh 2023 Global Esports Games crowned first medals

Dominican Republic's Street Fighter pro overcomes travel ordeal to clinch victory, mentored by Capcom Cup Champion MenaRD, as #GEG23 Unfolds with Unforgettable Matches

Dominican Republic’s BryanD wins gold in Street Fighter 6 against Malaysia at #GEG23. Photo: GEF

The first medals of Riyadh 2023 Global Esports Games (#GEG23) were awarded at the SEF Arena on Wednesday evening, with Bryan Diesel ‘BryanD’ Tineo from the Dominican Republic winning Gold in the Street Fighter 6 (Capcom) event, defeating Malaysia’s Ban ‘IamChuan’ Chuan in the final.


For BryanD, it was an epic conclusion to an even more epic travel odyssey. After a series of flight cancellations, 12-hour stopovers, and eight-hour layovers, his trip to Riyadh took nearly twice as long as it should have.


“Our journey to get here was very difficult, it took us two days,” he says. “It is the first time I have ever traveled away from home, so it was very difficult. But now it is worth everything. 


“I am so happy; I don’t know what to say. In every tournament I play, I seem to get second place, second place, second place. This is the first time I’ve won a tournament.


“I don’t even know what to say or how to feel. I just want to say thank you to everyone. The final match was hard, the man is very strong. He beat me in the groups. But for the final I was very prepared. I was ready.


“Saudi Arabia is very beautiful and special. It is very nice, and the arena is great.”


Street Fighter is huge in Dominican Republic, chiefly thanks to the existence of superstar MenaRD, who has won two Capcom Cups in the game, in 2017 and 2023 – the title’s first two-time champion. 


MenaRD has enthusiastically embraced BryanD’s huge potential, signing him to his team and acting as a mentor to the young player who many in the country see as his apprentice and potential successor.


“Mena is like a father or a brother for me,” says BryanD. “He has helped me so much to win this tournament.


“He told me to just ‘please, be Bryan – if you can just be yourself, you can win the tournament’, and that’s what I did. 


I’d like to say a huge thank you to Mena and the boys at the San Domingo Tigers team, they helped me through.


“I want to be like Mena. I started to play Street Fighter because of him winning the Capcom. I want to even get better than him and beat him and win three Capcom Cups!”


The final in Riyadh was a thrilling conclusion to the tournament here. BryanD beat Wess of Saudi Arabia in the first semifinal, 3-1.


In the other semifinal, it looked like Great Britain‘s FlawlessDeku was heading to the endgame after he built up an early lead, but an astonishing comeback from IamChuan won 3-2.

IamChuan was gracious in defeat. “I lost but the tournament has been a very good experience,” he said. “It’s my first time in the country and a very good venue, I was just one step away.”


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