SRI LANKA—The Sri Lankan government has become the first South Asian nation to officially recognize esports as sports. On October 2, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports submitted an order that esports be added to the list of government recognized sports.
This decision comes after the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka also endorsed esports in Sri Lanka. The order was submitted by the Head of the Ministry Harin Fernando, who has been in the position for just under a year.
Sri Lanka joins a growing list of nations that recognize esports as an official sport. In 2018, Germany also made the move to officially recognize esports as a sport.
In the United States, some esports players have received visas designated for “Internationally Recognized Athletes”. The passing of the landmark order is in part being credited to the Sri Lanka eSports Association, which was founded in 2012 and has been pushing to receive official recognition by the ministry.
The Sri Lanka eSports Association is a member of the International e-Sports Federation. The IeSF’s goal is to “further esports on a global scale”. By governing Esports competitions around the world, the IeSF is providing a crucial requirement for esports to become an Olympic sport.
In addition to the Sri Lanka eSports Association, the IeSF has 53 other members across the globe including the United States eSports Federation and the Korean e-Sports Association.
The recognition of esports as sports in Sri Lanka continues to show the growing support for the industry around the world. As more countries continue to recognize esports as sports, and organizations like the IeSF provide governance, Esports steps closer to becoming included in the Olympics as an officially sanctioned sport as well.
Written by Efren Hurtado