The Asian Games have recently announced that Esports will become a part of their medal tally. League of Legends is one of the major titles included in the 2022 Games.
This is the first time Esports will be considered a medal-winning event by the traditional governing body. The Olympic Council of Asia controls the Asian Games, and therefore it is a big deal that esports is finally recognized at this level. This means that the benefits afforded to traditional athletes competing in the Asian Games or the Olympics will also apply to Esports athletes.
South Korea has a rule where every citizen is forced to be a part of military service for two years. There is no exemption unless a citizen represents South Korea at the international level and bags accolades.
Given that criteria, there is a chance that League of Legends star - T1's Faker - might get to skip his mandatory military service.
Winning a Gold Medal for Korea in League of Legends at the Asian Games might be harder than it looks for Faker
In the past, a celebrity who skipped military service was “Son Heung-Min,” a professional footballer at Tottenham Hotspur. He won gold for South Korea at the Asian Games and was exempted from the service. On similar grounds, Faker will be exempted as long as he can win the gold.
Currently, Damwon KIA’s top-laner Khan is due for his mandatory military service. He will leave the League of Legends team after Worlds and has no option but to comply. Military service is mandatory, even though it hinders professional progress, especially for athletes. In Khan’s case, he is already 26, and therefore, he will have to leave before the Asian Games are hosted. On the other hand, Faker qualifies for the Games because he is 25.
However, it will not be as easy for Faker to win because he is no longer the undisputed king in League of Legends. Teams like FPX and Damwon KIA, participating in this competition, have defeated T1 and Faker several times in recent years. Faker will have to play his best League of Legends ever to pull this off.
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The 2022 Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China.