The Asian Electronic Sports Federation has announced that the 2021 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games will feature esports as a medal sport.
The Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, also known as AIMAG, is a multi-sport event hosted every four years. The event will be held in Pattaya, Thailand.
The Asian Electronic Sports Federation, Thailand Electronic Sports Federation, and the Olympic Committee of Thailand held a closed-door meeting that translated to the inclusion of esports as a medal event. However, the committee has not disclosed any further details about the event at the time of writing.
Esports was played as a medal sport in the 2007 and 2009 Asian Indoor Games. It was then included in the 2013 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games with six titles, namely FIFA 13, Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed, StarCraft II, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, League of Legends, and Special Force.
In 2017, the committee decided to feature esports as demonstration sport instead of a medal event and the number of titles was down to four. Hearthstone, StarCraft II, The King of Fighters XIV, and Dota 2 were played at the event.
Esports Insider says: In a world where the Olympics realistically needs esports more than esports needs the Olympics, it certainly seems like it’s slowly but surely on the way. AIMAG has a decent history of utilising esports at this point though and seeing it reinstated as a medal event is not all that surprising.