Indonesia’s sports ministry recognises esports

An esports competition in Bandung, Indonesia. © Antara/Novrian Arbi
An esports competition in Bandung, Indonesia. © Antara/Novrian Arbi

Jakarta, Indonesia, September 1, 2020: The Youth and Sports Ministry and the Indonesian Sports Council (KONI) have recognised electronic sports as an official sport, allowing video games to be contested in official competitions such as the National Games, the Jakarta Post reports.

The recognition was announced during the KONI’s national virtual meeting from August 25-27. 

The government also inaugurated the Indonesian Esports Central Board (PB ESI) as an association to foster athletes and hold competitions. 

PB ESI’s operational director, Police General Comr. Gen. Bambang Sunarwibowo, said esports deserved to be recognised as an official sport because it required athletes to be skilled in “speed, agility and strategy, just like any other sport.”

He added that the sport had been included in national and international sport competitions, such as the 2018 Asian Games when it was a demonstration sport.

A year later, esports was contested in the medal programme of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines for the first time in SEA Games history.

KONI Secretary General Ade Lukman conveyed his support for esports’ future in the country. “Hopefully, under PB ESI, Indonesian esports athletes and teams can earn achievements at the international level and make the nation proud.” 

The government has vowed to develop the gaming industry as well as esports as one of the drivers for the country’s economic growth.