Saudi Arabia reigns supreme in esports at Gulf Games by winning second gold medal with men’s League of Legends title

Saudi Arabia reigns supreme in esports at Gulf Games by winning second gold medal with men’s League of Legends title

Kuwait City, Kuwait, May 25, 2022: Destroying minions or shooting goals was as easy as ABC, or in this case the click of the computer keyboard, for Saudi Arabia who dominated the esports competition which came to an end at the Gulf Games on Wednesday night, May 25.

The Saudi Arabian men’s team joined female counterpart Najd Fahd to reign supreme in electronic sports which made its debut as a medal sport at the 3rd GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Games in Kuwait.

The Saudi men’s team defeated United Arab Emirates 2-0 in the League of Legends to win gold and underline their status as a regional powerhouse in esports. Earlier in the competition, Najd Fahd won the gold medal in women's FIFA HD.

“We are very happy to see our young athletes making history at the GCC esports competition. I congratulate our amazing athletes and I’m sure that the future of esports is going to be unique in Saudi Arabia as a result of the generous and caring support from our wise leadership,” said Saudi Arabian Olympic and Paralympic Committee Vice President and Secretary General, HH Prince Fahad bin Jalawi Al Saud.

The domination by the Saudis, especially the men, came as no surprise to their beaten opponents from UAE.

“We came into the tournament as the underdogs. Saudi Arabia has played with this same team, or the nucleus of it for more than five years, while we as a team only came together a fortnight before these Games began. We knew it would be a formidable challenge to beat them and so it proved,” shrugged UAE coach Ali Gaaloul after his side failed to stop the marauding Saudis in the League of Legend encounter.

As in any team sport, teamwork is key to winning LoL, or League of Legends, the most popular online game in the world. The five players on each team have to complement each other by blending the skills.

Each player has a designated role in their team – like in football, everyone cannot be a forward – with each picking a ‘champion’ or character on the map that the player controls.

Picking a champion in itself is a tough task, as there are more than 140 champions to choose from, each coming with their own special skill set that helps in destroying the minions and earning more gold for the champions to level up with the target of bringing down the enemy’s base or castle.

“Picking a champion is an art in itself,’ says UAE’s Faris Al-Marzouei. “You just go with your gut sometimes even picking a champion just on looks.”

Well that didn’t quite work out for the third year UAE university student who is doing a degree in finance as his parents want him to be qualified and get a proper job.

Yet Faris spends around eight to 10 hours a day playing League of Legends. This commitment wasn’t enough to win gold against the powerhouse esport country in the Gulf – Saudi Arabia.