India’s Maharashtra Government awards Asian Games 2022 esports athletes with prize money

18 April 2024


Indian esports player Darshan-Bata-aka-A35-(1)
Image credit: ESFI

The Directorate of Sports and Youth Services of the Government of Maharashtra, India, has awarded Asian Games 2022 esports athletes from Maharashtra with INR 10 lakhs (9,600) each in prize money.

This marks the first time that an Indian state government has rewarded esports players alongside traditional sports athletes for a major tournament.

ESI London 2024

Recipients of the prize money include DOTA 2 team members Darshan Bata, Krish Gupta, Ketan Goyal, and Shubham Goli, as well as League of Legends player Samarth Trivedi.

After being a demonstration sport at the 2018 edition, esports was first featured as a medal event at the Asian Games 2022. A total of 476 esports players from 30 countries competed in seven medal events in Hangzhou, China.

The Esports Federation of India (ESFI) organised online and open-for-all qualifiers to select the country’s representatives who participated in four titles: Dota 2, EA Sports FC, League of Legends, and Street Fighter 5.

The rewards provided by the Maharashtra Government may signal another step towards the recognition of competitive gaming as a legitimate sport in India, solidifying the progress made by the country’s esports industry in recent years.

In December 2022, the Indian government officially recognised esports as a multi-sport event. Moreover, notable titles Free Fire and BGMI (PUBG Mobile) re-entered the Indian market last year, while Honor of Kings announced its entry in March.

Most recently, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, met with some of the country’s prominent esports and gaming stakeholders to discuss industry developments.

Dota 2 player Krish Gupta commented on the reward from the Maharashtra Government: “[I’m] really happy to see that esports is getting recognised and we are being aided by the government.

“Thank you for the support to Maharashtra Government and a big shoutout to ESFI for giving us this opportunity to represent India in the Asian games.”

Lea Maas
Lea is a business student with too many passions and too little time. In addition to missing her shots in Valorant, she spends her free time advocating for mental health awareness and fostering inclusive esports communities.