Team Singapore's esports athletes clinched their first SEA Games gold medal since video games were added to the sports competition, but not without controversy.
The Singapore versus Indonesia gold medal match for the Mixed VALORANT (PC) event took a twist on Wednesday (10 May), when Indonesia accused the Singapore squad of abusing a Cypher bug that allowed them vision over their competitors.
Indonesia was down 4-10 when the game took a technical pause that lasted for at least two hours, before the stream ended without a conclusion.
The Indonesian squad claimed that Singapore's placement of VALORANT Agent Cypher's camera was illegally placed.
The game was not resumed, and players were told to return in the morning to complete the games, a spokesperson for the Singapore Esports Association (SGEA) told Yahoo Southeast Asia.
The VALORANT team of Tidus 'STYRON' Goh, Ayrton 'artn' Soh, Yeoh 'Divine' Chun Ting, Ingram 'FREY' Tan, Rodman 'vera' Yap and Marcus 'nephh' Tan were awarded the gold medal on Thursday after their Indonesia forfeited the match.
However, it was announced later than Indonesia would also be joint-gold medallists, following a dispute.
Singapore player shares experience
top 3 new experiences :
1.receiving threats in dms
2.11 hours and counting bo3
3.having no food the entire day and not allowed to leave the stage
— ENGM STYRON (@STYR0N) May 10, 2023
STYRON also tweeted that he was receiving "death threats in DMs" after the incident, and that the best-of-3 match between Singapore and Indonesia had already lasted 11 hours.
Indonesian player Rafi "frostmind" Diandra, however, tweeted that a conversation with the admins had allegedly said that the camera placements were not allowed, and showed off screenshots to back up his claims.
so to give some context on why we complain. and this is with the organizers admins. pic.twitter.com/f3EvtzOgz8
— frostmind (@rafidndr_) May 10, 2023
In a TwitLonger by STYRON posted after the decision was made to award a joint-gold medal, the Singapore player claimed that the conversations the Indonesia team had with the admin was not conveyed to them, and that the Singapore team had double-checked the rulebook and exploit list, neither of which specified that the in-game manoeuvre they had used was illegal.
According to STYRON, the Singapore team had waited several hours, and agreed to receive a penalty for the "bug", before returning to their hotel around 4.30am and agreeing to be back on stage at 8am with the score tied-5-5.
With the match set to resume on Thursday morning, Indonesia decided to forfeit, giving Singapore the gold.
"Indonesia forfeits the grand final in protest of an unfair decision. They will still be recorded as the silver medalist and will receive all rights and benefits accorded to that position," said Frengky Ong, Secretary General of Indonesian Esports General Board (PBESI).
STYRON said the Singapore team received news of the forfeit at 8.50am, and waited from 9am to 11am for the medal ceremony before being told of another dispute.
According to STYRON, the Singapore team had "two final choices", either to accept the joint-gold medal with Indonesia or to "be stuck in Cambodia for another week to wait for the result of the dispute" as the team had no other flights back to Singapore.
"We had 3 female handlers, Indo had their whole council and committee protesting," STYRON wrote. "We played by the rules that were conveyed to us, none of us wanted an outcome like this."
🇮🇩 Team Indonesia has forfeited the grand final of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.
Juanita "Valezka" Tanjung, the brand ambassador for Indonesia in the SEA Games, stated that the team's decision to forfeit is aimed at "upholding the nation's dignity and considering the… pic.twitter.com/aRvLrGyk6f
— VALO2ASIA (@VALO2ASIA) May 11, 2023
With the decision, Singapore takes its first-ever esports Gold at the SEA games since esports was introduced as a medal sport at the 2019 SEA Games.
"GGWP (good game well played) to all the teams that participated, it was fun while it lasted," STYRON said in ending off his post. "We came in with a day of practice, still proud of what we achieved regardless".
Yahoo Southeast Asia has also reached out to Riot Games, the publisher for VALORANT, for comment.
Singapore VALORANT squad
1. Tidus "STYRON" Goh
2. Ingram "FREY" Tan
3. Yeoh "Divine" Ting
4. Rodman "vera" Yap
5. Marcus "nephh" Tan
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com