The Indian DOTA 2 team produced a power-packed performance to clinch the bronze medal at the first-ever Commonwealth Esports Championship in Birmingham on Sunday.
The Indian Dota 2 team, comprising Moin Ejaz (captain), Ketan Goyal, Abhishek Yadav, Shubhnam Goli, and Vishal Vernekar, defeated New Zealand by 2-0 in a best-of-three format.
Despite the early pressure from New Zealand, the Indian contingent kept a cool head and won the first two rounds by taking the enemy's ancient with their intense gameplay and strategies.
"This win symbolises the amount of hard work the team has put in over the years and we dedicate this win to our country. Winning a medal at the Commonwealth was a dream for us and we're super proud as a team. We were very much aware before leaving for Birmingham that the tournament was going to be tough. Keeping in mind the intensity and level of the game on such an international platform, each and every team member gave their best shot during the practice sessions," said an elated Indian DOTA 2 skipper Moin Ejaz after winning the bronze medal.
Earlier in the DOTA 2, India came away with a convincing victory against Wales, got a bye against Trinidad and Tobago, but lost to England. They went on to the semi-finals but couldn't go past Malaysia's team and ended with a bronze medal match with New Zealand, which the team won convincingly.
"This is a historic win. The team DOTA has made the entire country proud by winning the bronze medal in the first-ever Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022. Moreover, it's a dream come true for the Indian Esports Ecosystem as we have won the bronze medal at the Asian Games 2018 as well. The entire esports community is overwhelmed with this win and will fuel many esports athletes to represent India on a global stage in coming years," said Lokesh Suji, Director of Esports Federation of India and Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation.
"Our next stop will be Asian Games 2022, where Esports is a proper medal event, and our focus is to excel in the tournament with multiple podiums finishes and bringing the laurels for our country. The esports community wants and requires esports to be recognised by the government as a sport in India to gain the benefits and support any sports community and athletes would receive. We want our esports industry to grow, develop and be nurtured just like any other sports in India," added Suji.
The Indian team in the Rocket League, which Hargun Singh led with Sandeep Sahani and Rushil Reddy, were not able to make it through after losing out to Canada by 3-0 in the best of five series in their first group stage match.
The team faced similar defeats against Wales and England, which resulted in their exit from the Commonwealth Esports Championship early in the group stage.