Speaking up for e-sports wins QE pair success in top debating event

Speaking up for e-sports wins QE pair success in top debating event

Two sixth-formers have achieved success in the English Speaking Union’s prestigious Mace debating competition and now go through to the next round.

Akshat Sharma and Mipham Samten, both of Year 12, were chosen to represent the Elizabethan Union – QE’s senior debating society – for the first round of the Mace at Kingsbury High School, where they competed against leading schools such as Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’.

They won their places in the next round with their successful arguments in favour of the proposition, This house would add e-sports to the Olympic Games, in one of the four debates held during the evening.

Academic Enrichment Tutor and Geography teacher Helen Davies said Akshat got things off to a strong start with an “inspirational introduction”, which highlighted the 43 million online viewers who recently watched an e-sports tournament taking place in the US. In fact, Akshat pre-empted many of the opposition’s points before the first opposition speaker had even taken to the floor.

He acknowledged that to be included in the Olympics, e-sports would first have to be recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Committee and he therefore set out reasons why this should happen. E-sports fulfilled the IOC’s meritocratic ideals, since they were played at internet cafés by many people in less developed countries, with one poor Pakistani citizen recently winning an e-sports tournament (and netting prize money of $6.3m).

For his part, Mipham stressed the need to move with the times and overcome outdated, stereotypical views of e-sports participants as “overweight men playing games”. They were, on the contrary, true athletes and, furthermore, they would help attract younger generations of supporters for the Olympics, promoting Olympic values to a wider audience.

In his summing-up, Akshat strongly challenged some of the major arguments against the motion. He pointed to shooting as a precedent – an example of an Olympic sport that required accuracy and skill, rather than great physical fitness. He also had an answer for those who criticised e-sports as too “gory”, highlighting the aggression inherent in boxing and fencing.