A couple of weeks ago, ONE Championship announced that it will launch ONE eSports in 2019, creating Asia’s largest global eSports championship series.
Teaming up with industry leaders, ONE is investing USD$50 million to bringing martial arts and eSports under one roof, and the organization has already confirmed joint events all over the continent.
In 2019, fans will be able to experience Kun Khmer, mixed martial arts, and the most popular eSports games, all in one weekend.
Since Cambodia already has close ties with the world’s largest martial arts organization, signing many top-level athletes with ONE, this marks another exciting opportunity for “The Kingdom Of Wonder.”
“I am thrilled to hear such a thing,” said Lun Samedy, Secretary General of E-Sports Federation Cambodia (EFC) when told about ONE’s investment in eSports.
“There are many reasons big companies such as ONE are [interested] in eSports here. Firstly, our GDP is growing. Secondly, our country is in peace, without war, and rapidly developing.”
Samedy has seen the meteoric rise of his beloved sport and has played a crucial role in developing the eSports industry in Cambodia.
His background in the Olympic Committee came to use when it was time to establish the federation.
“Since the E-Sports Federation Cambodia launched at the end of 2014, we have been trying very hard to spread the word about our sport and its values,” he shared.
With the launch of the Cambodian MMA Federation (CMMAF) in October, both organizations are now fully established in the country and are looking at an exciting year ahead.
Cambodia has a group of professional eSports players that aim to represent “The Kingdom Of Wonder” in the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines next year, and Samady predicts the sport and the number of professional athletes will grow exponentially in the future.
“eSports in Cambodia is very well-known,” he continued.
“The young people, this last generation, is different [than previous generations]. They wake up with a smartphone and a computer to use. Therefore, eSports comes naturally for them.”
Samedy sees similarities between the world of martial arts and eSports, and like Sityodtong, he presses on the importance of respect, sportsmanlike conduct, and training to reach the highest levels.
“The players that compete internationally cannot just play casually. They’re required to train appropriately, have a set schedule, and need regular follow-ups,” Samedy added.
“After a competition, you will approach each other like friends. That is called sports values.”
Samedy can also confirm that the EFC and CMMAF are working together in an effort to bridge the popular sports and improve the nation’s chances of succeeding in both the Southeast Asian Games and ONE eSports.