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The 2017 Ashgabat Indoor & Martial Arts Games Will Feature Esports

Time to make Dota 2 fans out of the Taekwondo crowd

Izo Lopez

The 5th Asian Indoor Games will be held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from September 17-27 and for the first time ever, esports will be a part of the games. Starcraft 2, Dota 2, Hearthstone, and King of Fighters XIV events will be held alongside traditional indoor sports and martial arts such as Bowling, 3-on-3 Basketball, Taekwondo, and more.

It seems a little bit disjointed at first glance but let's consider this as a form of recognition for the serious competition that is esports. Other games typically included in the Asian Indoor Games are chess and billiards, both of which have been used as examples to validate competitive gaming as "sports" by way of still requiring a lot of strategy, mechanical skill, and practice.

The website suggests national and then regional qualifiers to be held online and organized by each country's respective National Olympic Committees (hopefully with heavy consultation from actual esports industry organizers) though the main event will be via LAN at the Ashgabat Olympic Complex during the run of the event.

Registration and other details are here: events.esports-asia.org

The available slots for each region are below.

In the case of there being not enough applicants, country representatives may be added into the regional qualifiers, or determined in some other way, by their respective National Olympic Committees (with a deadline of June 30). The athlete lists will be sent to the Asian ESports Federation (the Asia-based arm of the IeSF), which despite still using the outdated "eSports" spelling of esports, is doing its best to validate esports as legitimate sports.

With there being plans to include esports in the official programme of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China as well, it looks like our niche community is becoming more and more mainstream and validated.

It might not be that much longer before we get to see something like an Olympics event for Dota 2 or CS:GO, which would be a dream come true for many of us who want to see competitive esports become better-recognized.