Athletics and eSports governing bodies unite in effort to combat ‘lazy stereotypes’

Athletics and eSports governing bodies unite in effort to combat ‘lazy stereotypes’
Matthew Jarvis

Pro-gaming’s desire to be classified as a ‘real’ sport may be one step closer to fruition, following a deal struck between an eSports body and a global athletics organisation.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has joined forces with its competitive gaming counterpart, the International eSports Federation (IeSF).

Specifically, the IeSF will partner with Athletics for a Better World, the IAAF’s community investment campaign, in an effort to develop training plans and fitness programmes to help both professional and recreational gamers reach their potential.

“The world of sport and entertainment is constantly changing and the IAAF is continually competing against new sports and new forms of entertainment for the attention of young people,” the IAAF said in a statement announcing the deal.

The IeSF added its hope that the collaboration would help establish credibility for eSports, as well as combatting ‘lazy’ stereotypes about gamers.

“The IeSF wants eSports to be taken seriously as a competitive sport,” it said.

“Due to the way in which eSports has grown rapidly over the past decade there is still an element of ignorance when it comes to professional gamers, with some people referring to the lazy stereotype about people who play computer games.

“A partnership with the IAAF, one of the most historic and iconic governing bodies in world sport, will help alter that.”

Nick Davies, IAAF deputy general secretary and communications director, told MCV more regarding why the IAAF felt eSports would complement its existing range of athletic activities.

“Many of the qualities needed by a professional gamer are integral to the world of athletics,” he explained.

“Representatives from both sports are put under immense pressure to consistently perform at the highest level on an international stage.

“More than anything, eSports demands fitness of the mind in order for players to cope with lengthy practice sessions. We believe that fitness of the mind is a quality that any top athlete can relate too, but we also recognise the importance of physical fitness to enhance a competitor’s mental strength.”

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