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‘It has been life-changing’: #GEG22 athletes share reflections on an unforgettable event

From competing in-person against their YouTube heroes, to connecting with a global community, and learning how to brand themselves, the Global Esports Games has been a big hit among the athletes in Istanbul


GamerBee wins gold!
GamerBee wins gold! Photo: Ben Queenborough/GEF

It does not seem to matter whether it is an established superstar of esports talking or a newbie who has just taken their first tentative steps on the worldwide stage, the Istanbul 2022 Global Esports Games have provided something for everybody.


There is perhaps one aspect, however, which has tied people together more than any other.


“For me, to meet other girls who love this game is really important,” said Lulu, a member of the Argentina DOTA 2 women’s team. “I’ve met a lot of new friends who are really passionate about what they do, and I love this.”


While Lulu and her teammates agonizingly lost out on a bronze medal to Singapore, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition silver medalist The4philzz was quick to stress that results are not really what matters.


“It’s the community,” the British competitor agreed. “I can compete in events online at home but it’s the social aspect that is my favorite.”


The man who denied The4philzz gold was the subject of plenty of attention throughout the three days of action.


“GamerBee, the first time meeting him, wow,” Singaporean athlete CaptainY said of the legendary, now two-time Global Esports Games champion. “He was very hospitable. He is the big brother of the game and seeing him still at a high level is very cool.”


CaptainY could not get over the number of people he had met from “places so far from Singapore.” The feeling was very much reciprocated.


“Straight from Kenya to here,” said Allan Kimani, coach of his nation’s DOTA 2 women’s team. “It‘s really an eye-opener. As a coach, now we really know what we are going to do to get to the next level. We know now what we need to do in practice. As soon as we go back home, training continues, every single day.


“We will be ready for the next event” - Allan Kimani, coach of Kenya's DOTA 2 women’s team

“We will be ready for the next event. We promise we are going to get the cup really soon, for Africa and for Kenya.”


Kimani, whose team particularly loved the #worldconnected Athletes and Community workshops on how to brand yourself as a gamer, also reported that he and several other coaches have committed to planning friendlies ahead of #GEG23, to ensure they are “ready.”


It is a heartening prospect for the Global Esports Federation’s #worldconnected flagship tournament. And it is not just further afield teams that will be getting back to work with a new hunger and motivation.


Three weeks ago, Türkiye’s DOTA 2 open team did not exist. Now they have a silver medal and a razor-sharp objective.


“This event is so good for us. We found each other, we put together this team,” coach Charda said. “If we spend a year together, maybe we can beat anyone, who knows.”


The next 12 months are certainly going to be huge for a whole host of elite esports athletes, and the GEF will be there every step of the way.


But, for now, it is left to Peruvian DOTA 2 open gold medal winner FLAPJACK to sum up just what #GEG22 has meant to so many.


"This weekend has been life-changing,” the champion said.


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