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Dubai: Girlgamer eSports Festival, the biggest eSports & entertainment festival to be staged in Dubai, concluded after four days of gaming, cosplay, concerts, activities and entertainment.

Held at the Meydan Grandstand from February 19, the festival featured the Girlgamer World Finals and the first-ever Interschool eSports Tournament, apart from a spectacular line-up of celebrities that included rap superstar Gucci Mane and award-winning DJ Dany Neville.

Organised by Galaxy Racer ESports, the Festival was supported by Dubai 10X Media, a subsidiary of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), as part of its strategy to drive the development of the region’s eSports industry and establish Dubai as a regional and global hub for competitive eSports events.

The Girlgamer Industry Conference kicked off the festival’s opening day on Wednesday. Some of the most prominent personalities from the worlds of eSports, gaming, media and entertainment shared in-depth insights on their industries. The Girlgamer World Finals commenced the following day, and excited fans gathered to catch the world’s best CS: GO and League of Legends Action. Team Assassins took the title of CS: GO champions, while Airbus-backed Team Out of Blue were crowned LOL champions on the final day.

Thrilling eSports action was on display in the Interschool ESports Tournament, the first event of its kind in the UAE. Abdulla Sanad, 15, from Sharjah British International School took home the Seniors Interschool Champions title, while Rashid Al Falahi, 11, from Rashid School of Boys was crowned Junior Champion.

Girlgamer also welcomed an incredible line-up of special guests, including Illustrator Naruse Chisato, Comic Book Illustrator Des Taylor, Voice Actress Kari Wahlgren, and Illustrator Shimadoriru, while cosplay, comic books, art, and nutrition workshops, hosted by the likes of Nikon, Sumi Cosplay and more, were big hits. Additionally, the free education and career seminars proved popular with festivalgoers looking to pursue careers in eSports and video-game-building. The seminars attracted considerable interest from parents eager to learn more about both the positive and negative effects of gaming.

The Girlgamer Dubai Cosplay Competition saw local cosplayers battle it out for a prize pool of $5,000, sponsored by Go Gamers. The fiercely contested competition was judged by special-guest judges such as international cosplay icon Alodia Gosiengfiao, leading local cosplay pioneer Saud Al Hazzani a.k.a. Vega Cosplay, and talented Middle Eastern professional cosplayer Sumi Cosplay. Isabel Cueva, dressed as Nergigante, won the Seniors Cosplay while the unicorn sisters Rosie and Sophie won the L.O.L. Surprise BB Cosplay

On top of a wide array of activities and open tournaments, the world’s largest private toy company, MGA Entertainment, was at the festival for its first-ever appearance in Dubai. The world-renowned toy manufacturer hosted a L.O.L. Surprise! Fun Zone and Little Tikes Play Date Area, and unveiled its brand-new line of toys: Na! Na! Na! Surprise.

An all-star team of radio DJs, made up of Kris Fade, Priti Malik, Big Rossi, and Brent Black, was on hand to host a massive final day of entertainment on Saturday. They took part in gaming battles with each other and against hugely popular gamer, TV presenter and voice-over actor Ahmed Al Nasheet a.k.a. DVLZGame.

The highlight of the evening was Ahmed Al Nasheet challenging and playing against rap superstar Gucci Mane in a game of Mortal Kombat! The rap superstar was later also part of the prize-giving team for the Girlgamer World Finals.

Girlgamer’s closing day was then topped off by a spectacular headline performance by global rap superstar Gucci Mane, who wowed his fans, following a live set from award-winning DJ and Producer Dany Neville.

Following the conclusion of the Girlgamer eSports Festival, Abdulla Al Mansoori, Team Leader, Dubai 10X Media, said: “The Girlgamer eSports Festival supports our efforts to position Dubai as a hub for the global eSports industry. Global events like the Girlgamer eSports Festival also play an important role in Dubai 10X Media’s long-term strategy of transforming Dubai’s media industry with future-oriented projects.

“The Festival brought to life the rapidly growing convergence in the fields of media, content, sports and technology, which the eSports sector has been accelerating over the last few years. Backed by a superior infrastructure, the government’s support and the initiative and enterprise of various stakeholders, we are seeing a vibrant eSports ecosystem taking shape in Dubai, which will catalyse Dubai’s growth into a major centre for the sector,” he added.

Lamia Khan, Director of Dubai Ladies Club, said: “Girlgamers, who participated in the festival, have created an example for girls and women by dreaming big. With their determination, they have inspired young people to believe in themselves and the idea that they can pursue their goals. They have also countered the myth that competitive events like eSports are reserved for boys and men.

“Just as in other spheres of life, girls and women bring a new set of perspectives and capabilities to sport as well. The fact that Girlgamers contesting in this festival demonstrated high levels of competitiveness and skills will go a long way in empowering other girls and women in the field of eSports and drive positive change that will contribute to the development of this sector,” she added.

Paul Roy, CEO of Galaxy Racer ESports, commented: “We are very proud to have brought the Girlgamer eSports Festival to Dubai for the first time. In doing so, we are confident we have made massive progress in promoting women’s competitiveness in eSports across the Middle East, while also showcasing Dubai as a global hub for world-class events.”

He added: “This year’s festival has successfully laid the foundations for what is scheduled to be an annual event over the next five years, and we look forward to making sure that gaming and eSports go from strength to strength across the region during that time, buoyed by the success of the first-ever Dubai edition of Girlgamer, here at Meydan Grandstand.”