Esports to remain an official medal sport for 2026 Asian Games

asian games
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Olympic Council of Asia

The Olympic Council of Asia has announced that esports will continue to be a part of its flagship event, the Asian Games.

The 2026 Asian Games, set to take place in the Japanese cities of Aichi and Nagoya, will continue to host esports tournaments across a number of titles. The titles selected for the 2026 Games were not officially announced.

ESI London 2024

The news comes before the 19th edition of the Asian Games, which will take place in Hangzhou, China, later this year. This year’s edition of the Asian Games will see a total of 10 esports events, including Arena of Valora, Dota 2, EA Sports FC, League of Legends, Street Fighter V, PUBG Mobile, and Dream of the Three Kingdoms 2.

Not a lot of details were shared about the esports events at the 2026 Games other than the fact that the decision was made during the Olympic Council of Asia General Assembly. Esports will be an official medal sport at the Games in much the same way that it will be this year, but the exact number of games and demonstration events will be made public at a later date.

Unsurprisingly, the regional esports stakeholders in Asia welcomed the decision. The President of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation Kenneth Fok noted: “AESF does welcome the decision and announcement from both OCA and AINAGOC, and we offer our full support for Esports. We are committed to working closely with AINAGOC to ensure that the wonderful game of Esports continues to be presented as one of the medal events at the 20th Asian Games following the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.”

Meanwhile, the Director of the Esports Federation of India, Lokesh Suji, highlighted that the decision means that India needs to expedite the development of its infrastructure, education programmes, training facilities and overall awareness and that it is imperative that Indian athletes are provided with top-notch equipment and resources.

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.