#TECH: Malaysia's first para e-sports league

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's first ever Para Malaysia Esports League 2021 (Para MEL21) is calling for registrations through the national e-sports platform, with a main prize pool of RM10,000.

Aimed at encouraging aspiring e-sports athletes to register on to start on their esports journey, Para MEL21 is in line with the Malaysian government's objective to develop the e-sports scene while providing a safe and inclusive ecosystem for the local gaming community where anyone can become professional gamers, regardless of their identities.

Para MEL21 is a month-long tournament organised by Techninier and Esports Integrated (ESI), an initiative to catalyse a vibrant, sustainable and inclusive esports ecosystem under the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) in collaboration with the Malaysian Youth Council (MBM) and is supported by Malaysia Disability Youth Council (MBOKU). Endorsed by KBS, the tournament is a part of the National Esports Blueprint to promote inclusivity within the local esports ecosystem through programmatic approach.

Youth and Sports miniser, Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Datuk Azumu said providing the opportunity for all to participate has always been the backbone of KBS's programs and initiatives, and this includes e-sports. "As esports continues to become a global phenomenon and is growing to become one of the biggest industries in the world, it's important to ensure that access is given to as many esports enthusiasts as possible and that includes people with disabilities (PWD), and ss a continuation to the hugely successful Malaysia Esports League 2021 (MEL21) that concluded on September 1, KBS through ESI would like to expand the league specifically for PWD," he said.

From its expansion in the past 20 years, e-sports has yet to be fully embraced within its tournaments and programs.

Befoee this, PWD does not have a nationwide platform to compete and promote its prowess to a larger market.

Now, with the help of fellow members, industry players, and related agencies, KBS can bring PWD tournaments into the mainstream similarly to the Paralympic Games by International Paralympics Committee (IPC)

ESI's chief executive officer, Ahmed Faris Amir, said ESI's vision is to create and promote a vibrant, sustainable and inclusive ecosystem which enables growth, ensures protection and expands diversity.

"By organising the first-ever nationwide esports league for PWD, this vision of ours is coming closer to full completion. Para MEL21 embodies the spirit of 'esports for all', and we hope that by kickstarting this tournament, more industry stakeholders, organisations, and event organisers will start giving attention to the underserved PWD segment. Esports, through competition and peripheral activities such as streaming, hosting, and casting, is a healthy and viable career option for PWD," he said.

In addition, the president of MBM, Jufitri Joha said the gaming community has become a major player in showcasing one of the best platforms for youths to engage their peers, through esports and this industry is continuing to grow rapidly.

"We are pleased to be a part of this initiative that recognises esports as an important youth engagement platform while creating a supportive environment for them to thrive, especially PWD. We hope this will encourage more youths who are interested in esports to register on so that we can provide them with the best resources to realize their esports dream," he said.

Chance for youths including youths with disabilities

Menwhile, MBOKU's president Faiz Shuhaimi wished that today's (PWDs) would be able to reap the benefits that esports offer.

"Many countries have hosted their own Paralympics, allowing disabled athletes to compete and showcase their ability. Thankfully this idea is beginning to cross over into e-sports. This is a historic event as we promote inclusivity through esports. We hope all youths with a disability would grab this opportunity to register and join the tournament," he said.

According to the chief executive officer of Techninier, Datuk Lion Peh, there are few channels for disabled youth to promote their prowess.

"We are pleased to partner with ESI and MBM to launch the Para MEL21. This tournament is the first step Malaysia is taking to open doors to more opportunities and empower PWD esports players to break out in the professional scene, and Techninier actively supports them on every level. Through, we endeavor to provide a safe, credible, and inclusive esports ecosystem for all walks of life in the gaming community that enables them to interact and learn from each other. As long as they have passion and ambition, we believe that anyone, regardless of their identities or abilities deserves a fair chance to play no matter if they are hardcore gamers or casual gamers," he said.

The Para MEL21 will start from Oct 24 for a month where players can register on and participate in the Hebat Challenge that features Techninier's game, Super Jones for RM1,000.

For the Player Unknown's Battlegrounds Mobile (PUBG)'s tournament, it will be held on October 18 to 24 where the players can compete through solo and squad categories for RM10,000.

PUBG's champions of MEL21 have also been invited to participate in the PUBGM Show Match on October 9 in line with the Malaysia Esports Festival (MEF).

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