Esports in India has grown significantly over the past few years, and you do not need to be an expert in the field to realise this. Professional gamers, athletes and streamers are no less than celebrities on social media, but there continues to be a stigma associated with the field.
People refrain from referring to professional gamers as athletes and feel they are addicted to the game. Debunking all these myths is India's best Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) player – Hemanth Kommu.
"I have been playing PES since 2007. It all started when my uncle gifted me a Play Station 2 and I have been playing for recreation ever since," the 24-year-old, Hemanth Kommu, says to The Bridge.
He was just 10 in 2007, which naturally brings the question of how did his parents allow him to play the game as a kid. But, it turns out they did not have any problem.
"I used to play during the weekends for recreation. I was never addicted to the game, neither am I now. I just enjoy playing it and my just parents know," Kommu chuckles.
The IIT Guwahati student did not get into esports or competitive play right away. It took him some time to find a group that plays the game he enjoys and then slowly get into the esports world.
"I did not get into competitive play right away. It happened much later, once I found a group of people who used to play the game. Even in the group a majority were officer-goers, so I was never really in a gaming environment as such," Hemanth explains.
A Chelsea fan by heart, the youngster prefers playing with Bayern Munich in the game.
"I am a true blue Chelsea fan, but in the game, I prefer playing with Bayern since it suits my gameplay a lot better. It is my go-to team," said Kommu, who goes by the in-game name of peshemak7.
The only Indian athlete to have qualified for the 13th Esports World Championships, Hemanth Kommu spends just one hour currently playing the game.
"There is no training schedule for me as such right now, I play an hour or two casually for recreation. The real grind will start once eFootball 2022 is out on 30th September. The World Championships will be played in this title and not the existing PES 2021," he informs.
Neither does Hemanth Kommu have a coach or sponsor, but the youngster remains thankful to the Esports Federation of India (ESFI) for their efforts.
"No, no I do not have a coach at the moment, nor do I have any sponsor. But, thankfully ESFI will take care of my trip to Israel for the World Championships, and I am grateful to them. Hopefully, I will be able to perform well in the World Championships," Kommu signs off.