Local News from Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka became the first South Asian country to officially include esports as a sport in their country. The decision was made by the Minister of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports, Mr. Harin Fernando and the order was officially passed under Section 28 of the Sports Act No. 25 of 1973 of the National Assembly.
Esports has increasingly come under the public radar in recent times, with its inclusion as a demonstration sport in the 18th Asian Games and as a medal event in the upcoming SEA Games 2019. Along with this, many countries have already set up government bodies and associations to help regulate, cultivate and promote the growth of esports in their respective countries.
The statement comes as a result of the Sri Lanka Esports Association (SLESA)’s long effort over a decade. Spearheaded by Gamer. LK, SLESA’s strategic partner, Esports activities and events have been consistently conducted across the island, making it one of the country’s fastest-growing sports. A record number of more than 150 schools from across the country took part in the recently concluded qualification round for the Inter-School Esports Championship.
Sri Lanka’s National Olympic Committee (NOCSL) had already supported Esports in Sri Lanka with their demonstration of support for the inclusion of Sri Lanka in the 18th Asian Games, where Esports was included as a demonstration sport.
The move will certainly do a lot to legitimize esports in Sri Lanka and hopefully act as a catalyst in making sure that other countries also do the same. Government backing and funding is often necessary especially when it comes to matters of securing visas and funds for attending international tournaments, problems that have often plagued athletes from the South Asian and even Asian countries.
One can only hope that other countries take note of this development and work to provide esports the platform that it deserves in their own countries as well.