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Esports has been included into the proposed list of official medal sports to be contested at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2025. Announced at the recently concluded 41st Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly last week, this proposal is a step towards seeing esports elevate its status from demonstration games to a full-fledged medal event.

Set to take place in Riyadh, AIMAG 2025 will be the 7th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, and marks the first time Saudi Arabia. The next AIMAG will take place next year in Chonburi, Thailand.

If successful, having esports feature as an official medal event at AIMAG would have brought the progress full circle, following its debut in a multi-sporting event’s program at the AIMAG 2017 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan as a demonstration sport. From thereon, esports has appeared at the 2018 Asian Games as demonstration sport followed by full-medal events at the 2019 and 2021 SEA Games. Esports was also planned as a full-medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games that is currently postponed.

Mr Animesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, 8bit Creatives, India’s leading esports consulting and talent agency & an ex-esports athlete:

With esports gaining the momentum that it has, it has made its way into various national and international platforms including the Asian Games. The most recent consideration of adding esports to AIMAG 2025, comes as a very welcome move. At a time when the gaming industry in India is getting redefined and diversifying into many new games while recovering from recent setbacks, this comes as a validation of the prominence of esports in this world. Clearly, the growth track that Gaming and Esports have been on, is going to continue.

Such developments instil a lot more confidence in the whole sporting ecosystem built around esports and is an inspiration for budding esports players to hone themselves. Our esports teams, 8bit & sOul are all motivated to work hard and represent India in these national and international tournaments and bring laurels for the country. At 8Bit Creatives, we are committed to nurturing and supporting more and more esports players in our country to put India on the global map.

Mr Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF):

What better news than this, from the first addition of esports as a demonstration event at AIMAG 2017 to being included as a proper medal event at AIMAG 2021 (postponed due to the pandemic) and now possible inclusion at AIMAG 25 brings us immense joy & excitement. It is safe to say that Esports is not far away from being considered a mainstream sport now courtesy of the remarkable efforts undertaken by the AESF and the OCA. The event AIMAG 2025 is set to take place in Riyadh and the Saudi Arabia government recognised esports as a sport there which is very encouraging.

ESFI is proud to be a full member of the AESF and to have participated in all major sporting events conducted by the OCA. With these constant landmarks scaled by Esports on the international stage under the committee that has already recognised it as an official sport, it is now time for the Indian government to do the same as well so that we will have the proper infrastructure, training facilities and coaching given to our young esports athletes.

Rohit Jagasia, Founder & CEO, Revenant Esports:

It’s great to see Esports continue its transition into major international multi-sports events after the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. The AIMAG is a prestigious game organized by the OCA and having Esports as a full-fledged medal event in it will only increase its significance among the Indian population.

A lot of international organisations have already given official recognition to Esports and if our government was to follow suit, it would provide immense motivation to the hardworking gamers and esports athletes of the country who are already exceeding expectations in different rosters. We would definitely be excited to see India compete in Riyadh at AIMAG 2025 and win medals.

Rohit Agarwal, Founder & Director, Alpha Zegus, the next-gen marketing agency specializing in the domains of gaming & lifestyle:

It’s an absolute big win for the community. Being honoured as an official medal sport gives so much more credibility to esports, not only as a sport but as a viable career option. We need more of such instances to attract higher interest from the government, investors, and most importantly, fans. Not too long until we see Esports being placed in the same league as cricket, football, basketball, etc. and having similar fan power, scale and craze.