A successful inaugural FISU eSports Challenge
As the first ever 2020 FISU eSports Challenge Football came to an end, it marked the start of something new in the 70-year history of the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The FIFA 20 Challenge was the first full-fledged virtual tournament held centrally by FISU, with entries from all over the world.
The inaugural e-series kicked off with 12 female and 32 male players on 6 July and ran through to 16 July, with the players representing over 30 universities across all five Continental University Sport Federations. Participants came from countries as diverse as Canada, India, Australia, UAE and South Africa, among many others.
Eight days of intense online action saw Amran Al Dhuhli from the Modern College of Business and Science, Oman, being crowned the men’s winner, while Saudi Arabia’s Najd Fahad from Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University took the honours among the women.
“I’m very glad about this historic day for myself, my family, my friends and country,” Al Dhuhli told FISU after his victory. “Today I can’t sleep and I will remember this day forever! I’m so very happy and will look to celebrate, however the Coronavirus situation will stop me,” he joked.
Recognising the keen interest in eSports among university students, as well as being mindful of the social distancing restrictions in the past few months, FISU decided to foray into this uncharted territory to stay connected with its student population and keep a sense of competition and sport alive, despite the lockdowns.
“This period of the COVID-19 crisis has not been without its share of silver linings. Despite being a challenging time, it has also been a time of learning and innovation,” said FISU President Oleg Matytsin. “Our team at FISU found new ways to connect with university students worldwide, through virtual challenges and e-tournaments.”
“The 2020 FISU eSports Challenge Football was a means for us to gauge the global appeal of virtual sport among university students. As the driver of the global university sport movement, it is our responsibility to keep pace with changing times and ensure we have a finger on the pulse of the youth.”
FISU Secretary General-CEO Eric Saintrond added that “It was a successful pilot project, one that we will evaluate before considering future actions in this direction.”
“I would like to thank all the member federations that fielded participants, as some of them even held national and continental qualifiers to choose their representatives,” said Saintrond. “I congratulate not only the winners, but all participants for being part of this successful first edition of the 2020 FISU eSports Challenge.”
Masih Mohafezatkar, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences (IRI) 2-2 Amran Al Dhuhli, Modern College of Business and Science (OMA)* (*Al Dhuhli won 1-0 in the Golden Goal decider)
Najd Fahad, Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University (KSA) 8-0 Alexssandra Batista, UniAteneu (BRA)