Singapore's Team Flash wins and makes World Cup Finals
Singapore's Team Flash became the country's first major eSports gold medal winners after claiming the top prize at the FIFA Online 3 East Asian Champions Cup Spring 2018 event in Bangkok last weekend.
The team pocketed US$108,000 (S$142,000) and earned a spot in the FIFA eWorld Cup Final in June.
The Team Flash trio of Joseph Yeo, 24, Amraan Gani, 23, and China's FIFA Esports player of the year, Li Si Jun, 26, trounced Thailand 3-0 in the final on Sunday.
The previous highest finish by a Singaporean team in the competition was third in 2016.
The victory will be a fillip for eSports in the country after the launch of the first eSports Academy here last year. An annoucement was also made of the first Asean eSports tournament being held here later this year.
eSports is also set to feature at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, team captain Yeo, who is on a break from professional gaming in China, said: "We had a good draw and the cards fell perfectly in place for us because we managed to avoid the Korean teams during the competition... we knew that the Chinese and Koreans were really good.
"All we wanted to do was make the final, and we were thrilled to beat China in the semi-finals."
In a tense semi-final, Team Flash defeated the Chinese outfit 3-2.
The Singapore team had a tricky time preparing for the competition, which featured 12 teams from seven countries - South Korea, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.
Yeo said: "We couldn't practice together because of our conflicting schedules.
"Amraan had to juggle between his school workload and gaming, while the foreign player on our team (Li) is a gamer in China... Most of the time, Amraan and I would spar with each other in preparation for the competition."
Teams were allowed one foreign player this year and Li, a full-time gamer for World Elite in China, was recruited by Team Flash.
Amraan, who is pursuing a degree in Maritime Studies at Nanyang Technological University, told TNP: "In 2016, Joseph and I were in the team that placed third. We were happy to have made it to the semi-final, but we were disappointed by our performance.
"It really wasn't easy balancing my studies and gaming... so it feels surreal to win the gold."