World's top Fifa gamers to battle it out in Singapore for $100,000 in prize money
'Crazy' newfound fame for e-sports champ Donovan 'F2Tekkz' Hunt
Amid all his accomplishments in the past year, it is easy to forget that professional Fifa gamer Donovan "F2Tekkz" Hunt is still just 17 years old.
He is the hottest player on the Fifa gaming circuit right now, sitting atop the football simulation game's global leaderboards for Xbox One after winning two of four major tournaments in the 2018-19 season and picking up US$100,000 (S$135,693) in the process.
But he is also a teenager who found himself needing to make new friends and adjust to newfound fame after moving away from his home in southwest England a year ago to attend college.
I've lived in Devon my whole life so I didn't really have any friends when I got to Wolverhampton for college," said the Liverpool Football Club fan.
He said that when he won his first Fifa tournament in January last year, he started to get a lot of friends and fans.
"It was quite crazy. I got very busy with a lot of things and my performance kind of dropped off.
"But yeah, I think if I went back to Devon now, everybody would know me."
Hunt is among 64 top Fifa players who will be showcasing their skills in Singapore at the US$100,000 PGL Fifa Ultimate Team (FUT) Champions Cup from Friday to Sunday (March 8 to 10) at Zepp @ BigBox in Jurong East. Admission to the event is free. The tournament is jointly presented by PGL and eGG Network.
The Singapore leg is the fifth of six top-tier tournaments in the Fifa 19 Global Series, which builds up to the showpiece 2019 Fifa eWorld Cup in July. The venue for this has not been announced.
Hunt is young even by e-sports standards, but not by much.
Because e-sport places a premium on reflexes and reaction time, players tend to peak at an even earlier age - from their late teens to early 20s - than their peers in physical sports.
The field is separated into two categories, with one half playing on the Xbox One and the other on the Playstation 4.
The winners from each category will then meet in the two-leg cross-console grand final on Sunday, with one game played on each console.
The champion takes home US$50,000.
Hunt (4,220 points) holds a commanding 2,000-point lead over his nearest challenger Mosaad "msdossary" Aldossary (2,124) in the Fifa Xbox One standings.
Aldossary, 19, of Saudi Arabia is the reigning Fifa eWorld Cup champion.
He is also slated to play in Singapore but have yet to arrive on Thursday owing to visa issues, with organisers PGL saying he might have to be replaced.
South-east Asia's lone representative is Malaysian Luqman "Fenrir" Haziq, who is looking for a breakthrough performance in his second outing at a top-tier Fifa tournament.
The 22-year-old Kuala Lumpur native said that playing so close to home could give him an edge.
"It's a good advantage to have. The top players have to travel a lot and some of them must be tired. That was definitely the case for me last year when I went to Barcelona for my first major competition," he said.
"I was alone in Barcelona as well. But my friends have travelled down to support me this week and it really makes a difference to have them around."