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Istanbul 2022 Global Esports Games a beacon of hope for Ukrainian eFootballer

It has been an impossibly difficult 10 months for Ukraine’s Vitaly Litvinov, but throughout he has held on to the GEG 2022 as his chance to connect with his community and the world

Litvinov has far more on his mind that just eFootball right now. His world is in strife and the safety of everyone close to him is naturally his prime concern. But through all the ongoing challenges the Ukrainian has faced, he has kept his eyes fixed on an opportunity to fulfill a dream.

“It's an honor for me to be competing at the Istanbul 2022 Global Esports Games,” Litvinov said.

“It was very important for me to go to the tournament in Montenegro in the summer (the eFootball European Esports Championships 2022) and it’s very important for me to go to Türkiye.”

The journey has not been easy. The 36-year-old lives in Dnipro, a city in central Ukraine and he recounts how he has been “bombed every day” and seen “rockets” through his “window”. Most of his family were forced to flee early this year and many people have lost their lives.

During all of this, the bond between the gaming community in Ukraine has been invaluable.

“I keep in touch with other players of the Ukrainian national team. We try to support each other,” he explained. “One player was from Mariupol, he was evacuated and lived with me.”

This kind of unbreakable camaraderie has been critical. Actual gaming has been difficult. The power is often out, with light, water, and heat the main concerns. Yet Litvinov and his teammates have had the GEG 2022 and its vision of a safe, inclusive and healthy esports ecosystem to aim for. That has helped them “try to train and keep in shape”, according to the eFootballer.

The moments Litvinov has been able to snatch away and dive into eFootball™ 2023 have really helped.

“eFootball develops quick thinking, you have to be able to make decisions very quickly. It's like chess, only very fast. It unites the world, (you) make new acquaintances, and every day (there is) something new,” he said.

In an inspiring sign, the Ukrainian then made it clear his competitive spirit is also very much still intact.

“The task (at GEG 2022) is to get out of the group but like everyone else, I want to win,” he declared. “There will be strong players, so it will be very difficult. There will be professional players. But I will not give up without a fight.”

Litvinov will no doubt have the support of many when he takes to the #worldconnected stage in GEF_house located within Istanbul’s stunning Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center. But he will also be able to locate some very familiar faces within the crowd. His family managed to return to Ukraine in the autumn and they will be by his side for his big moment.

He has a simple message for them and indeed for all as he heads to this convening of many on one platform and this celebration of equality, fair play and diversity.

“I want to wish everyone victories,” Litvinov said, before adding, “Peace to all, no war.”


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