The International eSports Federation has achieved another victory in the war to have playing videogames competitively recognised as an actual sport.
This time, they have convinced The Association for International Sports for All (TAFISA) to include eSports in 2016’s TAFISA World Sport for All Games being held in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Games, which are held every four years, showcase sports and games from around the world. They are open to the general public, who can see firsthand what physical activities other countries and cultures engage in for recreation.
TAFISA isn’t a Mickey Mouse organisation, either, as it has ties with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) and even the World Health Organisation (WHO).
We spoke with Colin Webster, the General Secretary of Mind Sports South Africa, to get a sense of what this means for local gamers. The following is a direct quote from our email conversation.
“The local gaming scene is going to benefit immensely from TAFISA accrediting eSports. First, it will give South African gamers the opportunity to go to yet another international event. The importance of playing at as many international events cannot be underestimated as it helps local gamers to meet the gaming greats, to learn while playing against the greats and to make new friends and exchange ideas. Thus those who are lucky enough to go overseas on a regular basis have a distinct advantage over others who do not have such opportunities. It is no wonder that the difference between any athlete before and after attending an international event is so noticeable.
Secondly, with eSports being included in the TAFISA 2016 World Sport for All Games, it shows that there is a clear understanding that eSports is just another sport, and that it is accepted as such by the highest authorities in sport. This accreditation has huge benefits in terms of growth, sponsorships and professionalism.
Thirdly, it gives gamers an opportunity to play in a large international multi-sport event. This means that gamers will be able to attract a wider audience than just the ‘converted’.”
The MSSA has long been involved with TAFISA, having sent teams to attend two events so far, the 1996 and 2012 Games, and will be looking to assemble a team of local gamers to attend 2016’s event in Jakarta.
The TAFISA World Sport for All Games will be held from the 10th to the 16th of November, 2016.