The six Chinese players – Sun Linwei, Lin Heng, Luo Siyuan, Chi Xiaoming, Xu Bicheng and Jiang Tao – were all professional players from the King Pro League (KPL), China’s top Honour of Kings tournament run by Tencent, the game’s developer. The Asian Games victory came after the players destroyed their opponents’ base crystal twice in 45 minutes, a rapid pace for professional competitions.
That marked China’s 48th gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games this year. The bronze medal in the same esports competition went to Thailand, which beat Vietnam on Tuesday with a 2-0 victory.
This year is the first time esports medals will count towards a country’s total in the Asian Games since they were introduced as a demonstration sport in 2018. This has helped draw extensive attention to the category, especially among young people.
The Tuesday finals were broadcast on China Central Television with a 10-minute delay and streamed on some Chinese video platforms including Huya and Tencent Video.
Other titles included in the Asian Games are Dota 2 from Valve Corp, Dream Three Kingdoms 2 by Hangzhou Electronic Soul Network Technology, and Street Fighter V: Champion Edition from Japanese publisher Capcom.
This year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, capital of China’s eastern Zhejiang province, were delayed from September 2022 due to the country’s rigid Covid-19 controls still in force at the time. During the games, which run from September 23 to October 8, athletes will compete for 483 gold medals across 40 sports.
The combined version played at the Asian Games features 63 champions from which players can choose – 51 from Honour of Kings and 12 from Arena of Valor.
Chinese netizens were quick to hail the country’s first esports gold medal, which was widely expected given that the team had not lost a single match leading up to the finals.
“I am so proud at the moment,” Xiaolu, an official commentator for KPL, wrote on her Weibo account after the final match ended. “We are all witnesses of a glorious new chapter for Chinese esports.”
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