SEA Games: Some Singapore esports nominees left out because of 'selection criteria'

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Singapore versus Malaysia at the 2019 SEA Games Starcraft 2 event. (Photo: Yahoo Esports SEA)
Singapore versus Malaysia at the 2019 SEA Games Starcraft 2 event. (Photo: Yahoo Esports SEA)

A total of 31 Singaporean esports athletes have been selected for the upcoming Hanoi SEA Games 2022 taking place in May, the Singapore National Olympics revealed in its list of successful appeals on Tuesday (8 March).

However, missing from the list are players who are competing for Arena of Valor (AoV), Free Fire, and PlayerUnknown's Battleground Mobile (PUBG Mobile).

And the players who competed in the selection trials to earn the nomination are upset at not being selected.

A widely-shared post by AoV player Dabbie "813" Lim claimed that he and his AoV team were told that they were not selected as "chances of getting [a] medal is low".

813 further claimed that other countries were sending all players that qualified through their own national qualifiers, and that he and his teammates were not getting "support compared [with] traditional sports" and were "deemed as won't be able to get a medal".

IT analyst Godwin "Dai" Choo, 813's teammate for the selection trials, further added that while the AoV's squad track record wasn't the best, the team had planned to put in "more time to practice and try our best", despite working full-time jobs.

"I was given the reason that the team must first perform in SEA level competition. And that they are expecting the game organisers to organise more games for our team to participate to prove that we are worthy," said Edmund "edz" Yew, who was the manager for one of the teams nominated but not selected. Singapore is the only country not to have PUBG Mobile teams.

Yahoo Esports SEA reached out to the Singapore Esports Association (SGEA), who ran the selection trials, and SNOC on the validity of the claims.

In a statement on 10 March, SGEA stated that it "understands and empathises with the disappointment faced by the athletes who were not selected for the 31st SEA Games. Countless hours of training and sacrifice have been put in and seemingly all for naught".

The organisation further added that it plans to create more opportunities for local athletes to take part in international tournaments by working with publishers and sponsors.

Yahoo Esports SEA understands that all players who had won their respective selection trials were nominated by SGEA for selection to SNOC.

There were also players also did not need to play the selection trials, and were instead directly nominated based on performance and from data provided by game publishers.

SNOC then makes the final decision based on data of the athlete's record, such as international track record and performance.

SNOC did not get back on the claims made by 813 on "medal chances" at press time. However, an SNOC spokesperson confirmed that some players were not selected because they did not meet the SNOC selection criteria.

According to SNOC, the following criteria is applied in the selection process: athletes "who have currently achieved at least 3rd placing e.g., time/distance/score/mark of the 2019 SEA Games". For team sports, teams "should currently be ranked 3rd among the SEA Games countries".

An industry esports veteran, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Yahoo Esports SEA that having the trials "then not selecting the players due to a lack of credentials is ridiculous".

Another veteran in the esports scene, who also requested anonymity, said, "Players require experience to succeed. Denying players the experience to compete, when they have shown national success, is putting unnecessary hurdles for players and esports to grow."

Four games from the 2019 SEA Games in Manila were not chosen for Hanoi. For the 2022 games, Vietnam left out out Tekken 7, Starcraft II, Dota 2, and Hearthstone.

League of Legends and its mobile version, League of Legends: Wild Rift, Free Fire, PUBG M, CrossFire, and FIFA Online 4 join returning games Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and AoV.

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

For more esports news updates, visit https://yhoo.it/YahooEsportsSEA and check out Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia’s Facebook page and Twitter, as well as our Gaming channel on YouTube.

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