By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
Without even once raising his fists, the Kasetsart University engineering student knocked out his rival cold for a spot at December’s SEA Games in the Philippines. Despite having limited time practising the combat game, the 22-year-old senior employed a variety of techniques to win the Tekken7 final 3-1 in the National Qualifiers, which was part of the Thailand Games Expo by AIS eSports.
His prize was a berth on the national team for the first-ever SEA Games Esports competition.
“I’m thrilled, not just because I won this competition but because now I have the chance to promote Tekken7, which is not as widely played in Thailand as other Esports,” said the Bangkokian, who barely had time to train ahead of the tournament.
“I practised only a few times before the competition as I was tied up with school work in Kamphaeng Saen [in Nakhon Pathom]. So my strategy was to learn the techniques on YouTube,” added Nopparut, runner up in the 2017 Esports World Championship in Busan.
Nopparut Hempamorn and Rachawin Tanasoontorngoon in a face-off
According to Thailand Esports Federation (TESF) president Santi Lothong, no fewer than six Esports gold medals will be up for grabs in the SEA Games between November 30 December 10. The six categories are Tekken7 (Console), ROV (Arena of Valor, a smartphone game), Dota 2 (PC), Starcraft II (PC), Mobile Legends Bang Bang (smartphone) and another to be announced.
“Our hopes depend on Tekken7 and ROV. But the Philippines and Vietnam have strong players in these two categories. If we don’t have to compete against them in the final, the gold medals should belong to us,” said Santi.
Nopparut, meanwhile, is more concerned with making amends for his loss in the final round of the International Esports Federation event in the Philippines.
“I need to redeem my pride. I still have six months to get ready for the Games and I hope to perform my best in my SEA Games debut,” he said. The National Qualifiers are taking place from now on until July, with winners making up a Thailand team of 24 Esports players.
The National Qualifiers, co-organised by AIS and TESF, for other categories, will take place from now on until July. In the end, a team of 24 Esports athletes will be chosen to represent Thailand. Fans can catch up with all TESF competitions through AIS Play app.