Esports: Commonwealth Games trial an ‘opportunity to show it is more than just a game’

Mark Weller, chief gaming officer of Vexed Gaming, will act as Team England's Esports manager at this year's Commonwealth Games
Mark Weller, chief gaming officer of Vexed Gaming, will act as Team England’s Esports manager at this year’s Commonwealth Games

“It’s an opportunity for us to educate on esports and it being about much more than just playing a game.”

The news that this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham would include esports as a pilot event faced opposition from traditionalists.

The inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships will run alongside this summer’s Games, but have separate branding, medals and organisation. But there is hope that esports could become part of the full programme by the 2026 event.

After being appointed as team manager of the England esports squad, Mark Weller spoke to BBC Sport about leading the country into a new era of competitive entertainment.

A competitive outlet

The Commonwealth Esports Championships are due to take place at the International Convention Centre in the heart of Birmingham on 6-7 August.

The event will feature esports athletes from across the Commonwealth – with DOTA 2, eFootball series and Rocket League the three titles featuring in the competition.

All three titlesexternal-link will also include a women’s category as well as an open category.

Weller, chief gaming officer of the Manchester-based Vexed Gaming team,external-link was appointed team manager of Esports England in February.

“It’s a really proud moment for me. As a child I watched the Commonwealth Games. I enjoyed sprinting and as a young person I used to dream about one day being there,” he told BBC Sport.

“It’s a bit mad coming full circle and being a part of it in a way I never thought would be a route 10 years ago.”

It was a major life event in his teens that kickstarted Weller’s pathway into competitive gaming and led to him to lead his country at the Games.


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Commonwealth Games is smart to embrace esports

Esports will be part of the programme at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Esports will be component of the programme at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Video games

If you want to acquire a comprehensive bore rifle taking pictures medal at the Commonwealth Video games you’ll need a eager eye, continual hand, means to reduce and command your heart level, hundreds of hours of practice – and a host metropolis keen to include the party. Even so very good you could be, then, Birmingham 2022 is not your time.

Early preparations for this summer’s Video games were being dogged by a spat around the non-inclusion of taking pictures. The surreal compromise of a location change to the Indian city of Chandigarh was finally undone by Covid. And now the self-styled Helpful Games is welcoming esports to Birmingham this summertime alternatively.

Eager eyes, steady fingers, reduced and managed heart costs and a (young) life time of follow will however be rewarded with medals – even though people gained in Dota 2 and the two other esports will not rely in the direction of the official Video games table.

A perennial pub debate is what constitutes a activity. One of my lines of assault is any video game played in a pub alone is not a activity, so ruling out dominos but opening me up to getting pinned to a board and utilized for focus on observe by outraged darts aficionados.

Bridge experienced a extensive functioning battle with Sport England and the tax authorities to be recognised as a sport. Just one prize was liberty from VAT for card players’ competitors entry fees. It went to the European Court of Justice, with bridge the loser. As it occurs, the International Olympic Committee takes a

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