SINGAPORE — While most parents would bar their kids from playing video games late into the night, Amraan Gani’s parents would make food for him whenever he plays FIFA, a football video game, especially when he plays until four or five in the morning.
Then again, most kids are not professional esports athletes like Amraan. The undergraduate said he trains about two to three hours during school season, and up to about six to eight hours leading up to a tournament.
While he admitted that his parents do worry a little bit when he trains for long hours, they are generally supportive of his successful esports career, which has raked in more than S$100,000 in prize money so far.
Q: How did you get involved in this sport?
I used to play video games with my siblings and my dad when I was young. The gaming culture was cultivated since then. I always thought I was good and just needed a platform to showcase my talent.
What is most tiring about the sport? What do you feel tired about when you are done with a match or a training session?
The mental exertion. The amount of focus needed for that 10-15 minutes can be really tiring. I have back pains after training sessions due to my bad posture as well.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have of this sport? What kind of reactions do people get when you tell them you play this sport?
People believe gaming is bad for you and will only have negative effects. And you won't amount to anything by playing video games. They are usually surprised when I say I play professionally.
In playing this sport, what has been your most memorable experience?
There are four actually. Winning the SEA championship, which was my first victory representing Singapore; winning EA Champions Cup twice, which is the biggest competition in FIFA online series; and making it to the FIFA 18 playoffs in Amsterdam.
What about your most heartbreaking?
Losing in the finals of FIFA Online 3 competition called the Intercontinentals in the final game.
Share an inspiring story you have of a tournament or an experience with teammates that made you love this sport even more.
The game is made beautiful with the closeness of the teammates, motivating one another whenever one is not playing well or is not confident, which really helps during the actual matches. The team spirit also led to victories on multiple occasions.
Was there a time you felt like walking away from the sport? What made you stay?
The love for the game never wanes. I always want to play competitively for as long as I can, until my body doesn't allow me to.
What was the worst injury experienced?
Back pains can be really horrible at times. I had to lay off playing for a few days if it gets really bad.
What life lessons has this sport taught you?
Never give up, always believe in yourself even if you’re not the best player in the room and that failures are part of life. I've learned to pick myself up from failures.
How can people get involved if they’re interested in this sport?
For casual gaming, anyone can as long as they enjoy it. To play competitively, sacrifices have to be made, plenty of time and effort needs to be put in to better themselves.
Can you tell me in one sentence why you love this sport?
I love playing FIFA and the adrenaline rush I get when I win a championship is unlike anything, and this is why I play.