Esports become medal events for 2022

KUWAIT CITY: Video gaming will be featured as a full sport at the 2022 Asian Games, with competitors in electronic sports set to receive medals for their digital prowess.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) says it will introduce esports to the official programme of the Asian Games at Hangzhou, China.

It will also be a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

The OCA said the decision reflects "the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth".

The council is collaborating with Alisports, a unit of China's Alibaba Group, to bring esports to the quadrennial event.

No details were given on which video games would be included.

The Asian Games features a wide range of traditional Olympic sports along with others containing more regional appeal.

Some of the more obscure sports include sepak takraw, which combines features from football and volleyball and is popular in Southeast Asia, and kabaddi, a contact team sport that evolved in and is dominated by India.

The sports programme has also included a variety of martial arts, contract bridge, jet-ski racing and sport climbing.

Meanwhile, Indonesia wants 37 sports at the 2018 Asian Games, lower than the maximum of 42 previously announced by the OCA.

At the 2014 tournament in Incheon, South Korea, there were 36 disciplines.

Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi said: "We will convey to the OCA as soon as possible that we are not ready to host 42 sports."

Ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto said Indonesia wanted to host 37 sports.

Authorities did not say which disciplines they wanted dropped, but reports claim they include sepak takraw.

Indonesia was picked to organise the 2018 tournament after Vietnam withdrew due to financial problems.

The 2018 Asian Games will be held in Jakarta and Palembang from Aug 18-Sep 2 next year. bangkok post/ap

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