Dan Albu is an athlete in every sense of the word—he trains several hours a week, travels worldwide for championships, and is passionate about his sport. The only difference is, Dan a.k.a. ArKaiNe, is a part of a growing number of cyberathletes.
Based out of Toronto, Dan practices one to three hours a day, but when a championship is lurking his training time jumps to six or eight. “I put the same effort into preparing for gaming tournaments as I did hockey tournaments when I was younger. Just like any other sport, this takes a lot of practice and dedication,” says Dan.
With his team, “The Doctors,” Dan is ranked number one in the world at Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and is one of the top competitors in Quake 3, Unreal and Counter-Strike. Tournaments are held around the world and many of the same top competitors follow the circuit, allowing rivals to get to know each other’s gaming style. Every advantage is sought after since huge amounts of money are up for grabs. At the World Cyber Games in Korea—where 53 countries and 500 representatives will compete for over $450,000 in cash and prizes—ArKaiNe will be the man to beat.
According to this 18-year-old gamer, the stereotype of the lazy maladjusted computer nerd couldn’t be further from the truth. The elite are often natural athletes that are well spoken, computer literate, intelligent and enjoy competition and travel. To become one of the best you must be able to plan ahead, react quickly, persevere and be cool under pressure.
Pro-gaming is still a budding sport in North America, but in Korea and parts of Europe for example, e-Sports championships are broadcast on television, covered in the newspapers, and top cyberathletes are often stopped on the streets and asked to sign autographs. Although this isn’t the norm…yet, keep in mind only a few years ago snowboarding was considered a fringe sport and is now an Olympic event.
The world’s best cyberathletes are making some serious coin. In Quake-related events, top moneymakers in 2001 are:
Johnathan Wendel aka Fatal1ty, $252,705
John Hill aka ZeRo4, $161,700
Dennis Fong aka Thresh, $106,500
Source : ChallengeTV
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Written by reporter Mireille Messier