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“There is no greater sense of pride” – athletes delight as #PEC23 approaches

Chilean hosts and international visitors prepare to make history in Santiago, Chile


The debut of esports – the Pan American Esports Championships – at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games is looming large, and Chile’s athletes could not be more excited.

“We feel very honored and thrilled, it feels like we are dreaming,” says Macarena "Paprika" Albornoz, who is captain of the Chile Dota 2 Women’s team, about the event at National Stadium Sports Park in Santiago, which takes place from November 2 to 4.


“We are proud to represent our country and have this unique opportunity. It is awesome to feel the support from people. When I walk around the streets in the uniform of Team Chile, a lot of people talk to me, congratulate me, and wish me good luck. It shows all our effort was worth it.

“We obviously hope to win! In addition, we hope to inspire new generations, especially other girls, to play esports and be gamers.”


Paprika is well aware of the significance of an event that will see esports athletes participate in the Closing Ceremony, and share the Pan American Village with their athletic counterparts, a short distance from the National Stadium itself.

Says Paprika: “We believe this is a historic moment. Every time we mention to people that esports are part of the Pan American Games for the first time, they are surprised. We think it is really important and sets a precedent for future competitions and generations.

“Being here has helped to change my family’s mindset. They didn’t see esports as something that is more than a game, but being here, they are so understanding and supportive. Everyone is really happy.”


“We can reach fans of esports around the world”

Chilean eFootball™ athlete Gustavo ‘Van der Nuny’ Miranda, backs up her sentiments.

“To represent your country in the thing that I love the most, there is no greater sense of pride you can have,” he says. “Since I was given the opportunity to compete for a place to represent Chile, it has been my total priority.


“I want to show what I am made of. I want this event to be seen as a party for esports but also show that this discipline is growing up. I long to see an entire country supporting me and joining me to defend the flag when the competition begins.”


It is a huge turning point, believes Miranda. “Ten years ago, it was difficult to talk about esports as something professional. Today we are much closer to professionalizing it at a national level,” he says.


“At a global level, it is a platform that we should all take advantage of. We can reach fans of esports around the world. I’ve been playing video games for 25 years. When I was 10, I never thought I could represent my country in a continental event.


“It’s a huge joy to know that I will be a reference point for the next generations. They will see this discipline as something ‘common’. It took so long to happen.


“My friends and family are proud. I’ve never stopped playing, and representing the country is a reward for that perseverance and effort. They were the first ones to buy tickets when they went on sale and are very happy for me.


“I always thought about how proud the athletes must feel when they compete for Chile. I watched the gold medal won by Nicolás Massú and Fernando González in Athens 2004. Knowing that today I can achieve something like that motivates me even more to perform.”


“Esports has really grown – this is surreal”

Chile’s visitors are loving it, too. “I’m excited, nervous, and grateful for this opportunity,” says Tahjay ‘incontrolTahj’ Solomon, Jamaica’s eFootball™ competitor.


“I’m looking forward to showcasing my skills on the world stage and meeting other athletes. This is huge for esports. In Jamaica, we used to play in game shops. To now represent the country on a big international stage is surreal.


“Thanks to the Jamaican Esports Initiative, esports has really grown, and Jamaicans are becoming better players. The competition was tough [to get here] but I was always confident I would come out on top. This is something I could only imagine, growing up.”


The #PEC23, staged by the Global Esports Federation and Panam Sports, is supported by PC Factory and is set to captivate fans, athletes, and enthusiasts alike, uniting the worlds of physical and digital sports like never before.


Catch the exciting action at the Pan American Esports Championships 2023, streamed LIVE in four languages – Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Chinese, on GEF’s Twitch and YouTube, Panam Sports Channel, BTS Brasil, Epulze, Douyin, Douyu, and Huya.


For more information, please visit www.globalesports.org/pec23.

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