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Friday, April 19, 2024

Three more eSport scholarship winners as demand for competition grows

For the second year running, eSports athletes took centre stage at Centennial Schools to compete for three scholarships in a hard-fought eSports tournament. And this year new ground was broken with the first girl to place in the top three of the tournament.

The competition was tougher than ever this year with over 200 entries received, and only the top 25 students taking part in the tournament. The competition required the students to flex their skills in everything from Overcooked 2 to Minecraft.

Shaun Fuchs, founder and CEO of Centennial Schools, said the eSport tournament was launched last year to highlight the value of the skills taught through gaming and to take advantage of the unique opportunity that success in the eSports industry can present for the students.

This year the three winners, two boys and a girl, are all from Centennial Schools and have won scholarships to the value of R300 000, R200 000 and R150 000. RGB Gaming were observers and facilitated the tournament as independent parties.

Nkuli Gamede, Principal of Centennial Schools, was blown away by the success of this year’s competition. “It was a fantastic result, and a testament to the growth of our school and the interest of students wanting to be part of a school that focusses on eSports. We incorporate eSports and gamification into our lessons and the fact that we have the (good) problem of a massive waiting list for next year’s competition means that our students are interested in being part of this environment.”

Jamie Twidale was the winner of the tournament, with Kyra Harris second and Zacree Wessels third.

“Kyra has made history, and we are exceptionally proud to be part of it. There is a general misconception that young girls don’t necessarily get involved in eSports, which is not the case. This is a positive trend for the future,” Gamede said.

“I played my heart out for this, and I did really well in most of the games. I was a bit surprised I won because I did not prepare too much, schoolwork took up most of my time. This was an amazing tournament,” said the day’s winner, Jamie Twidale.

Kyra Harris said, “The competition was stressful but also a lot of fun. I am very, very happy. I practised a lot more this year and I was less stressed this time around.”

Third-placed Zacree Wessels put in the hard hours practising at home. “It was a lot of fun and I am very proud of myself. I trained hard to achieve my goals.”

Centennial Schools has the largest eSports arena in Africa and incorporates gaming into the school curriculum. Not only is it a fun way of learning, but it also teaches valuable skills that last beyond the classroom.

“Research has shown that children who play video games are better at navigating complex problem solving, it boosts their strategic thinking capabilities, fosters teamwork and leadership skills,” Fuchs said.

Fuchs also pointed out that the eSports market in South Africa, Africa and the world is massive. Projected revenue from the eSports market in South Africa alone is expected to reach R400 million this year. “Our market is experiencing significant growth with more local tournaments being organised and more foreign investment coming in.”

“This is good news for those young people who want a career in this industry. But eSports also prepares our children for careers in diverse fields such as engineering, remote flying, computer sciences and medical fields.

“More importantly, and the reason we introduced a competition like this, is to innovate in the education sector to focus more on skills such analytical thinking, fostering collaboration, and creativity. These skills are the ones our children need to face the world of work in the 21st century,” Fuchs said.

This marks the second year of the competition with over R1.5 million rand worth of scholarships awarded so far. With the exponential growth of the sport locally and internationally, this scholarship is poised to gain even more traction and popularity.

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