Thomas Kopankiewicz wins e-sports silver in first outing for Singapore
Thomas Kopankiewicz's arduous journey of attaining Singapore citizenship finally paid off when he became their first e-sports silver medallist, reaching the Starcraft II finals at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan yesterday.
Born to a Polish father and Chinese mum, he moved to Singapore when he was four and attended neighbourhood schools and served national service. He was granted the red passport earlier this year, after renouncing his German citizenship.
Despite not being selected initially by the Singapore National Olympic Council, the Singapore E-Sports Association successfully appealed to have Kopankiewicz compete in Manila.
He earned the silver after being defeated by Philippines' Caviar Acampado 4-1.
En route to the final, he had lost to the Filipino 2-1 in the group stages.
"I'm really disappointed to have lost. My opponent caught me off-guard as he brought his A-game," said Kopankiewicz.
"He capitalised on my every mistake and the crowd was on his side.
"I've played against him before in 2015 (at the LotV Beta Anniversary Tournament Championship), and actually beat him 4-0."
The 24-year-old, who is also a content creator and producer, had to take time off from his full-time job to train for the Games.
"E-sports require practice and time, like mainstream sports. I would liken it to chess," said Kopankiewicz, who is a member of multi-gaming team Resurgence.
"I was burning out before I flew in (for the Games), but I decided to go into the tournament and just do my best."
The Singapore Polytechnic alumnus has bigger plans for the e-sports community, and hopes that gaming continues to gain traction.
He said: "When I started gaming, there wasn't as much attention or interest in it like now.
"I hope to organise community competitions and continue to build on what we have. Competing here sparked an old flame in me."
Last Friday, Chew Khai Kiat clinched bronze in Hearthstone for Singapore's first e-sports SEA Games medal.