Dubai: It’s game on and female eSports athletes from around the world have converged for the inaugural Girl Gamer Dubai Festival to challenge stereotypes and show the world that girls can do anything.
Taking place until today (February 21) at Meydan Grandstand in Dubai, the highlights of the three-day eSports festival include the Girl Gamer World Finals for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and League of Legends (LoL), aside from cosplay, concerts, and other e-gaming activities.
Champions in the previous elimination rounds held in Seoul, São Paulo, Lisbon and major cities in the US are competing for the coveted world title in Dubai.
Members of the two-time CS:GO world champions Dignitas, representing North America, told Gulf News on Friday they are not only raring to claim their third consecutive world title in Dubai but they also want to encourage girls and young women “to break out of their shell.”
US national Carolyn Noquez, 24, who goes by the name artStar, said: “Although e-Sports is a huge industry in Europe, North America and major cities in Asia – including Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore – it is still at its nascent stage in the Middle East and is usually dominated by male participants.”
“We want to challenge the stereotype and show the world that girls can do anything,” added Noquez, who is of Filipino-Assyrian descent.
“Bringing Girl Gamer for the first time in Dubai is a game changer and will boost the popularity of e-Sports in the UAE.”
Noquez is also proud of her five-member team composed of Amanda ‘Rain’ Smith, 25; Kiara ‘Milk’ Makua, 24; Emma ‘Emuhleet’ Garrido, 29; and Melissa ‘Theia’ Mundorff, 20’ plus their coach, David ‘xp3’ Garrido, 31.
“We have known each other for years, competing in several professional tournaments, and we have developed our skills and creativity as well as proved to everyone that this (e-Sports) is also a profession,” she underlined.
Dubai resident and Polish expat Ewelina Kaczmarek, who goes by the name TehKira, added: “Events like Girl Gamer brings about positive change in gender balance and boosting women leadership.”
Participating in the cosplay (costume play, a performance art where participants wear accessories to represent a specific character), Kaczmarek asserted: “There is this psychological fear we want to break that women can not be at par with men. But events like Girl Gamer breaks the stereotype and with more girls participating and winning in e-Sports and makes more motivated to improve themselves.”
“We (women) become more inspired to say that we can overcome challenges and no goal is impossible to achieve,” she added.
Meanwhile, Paul Roy, CEO of Galaxy Racer Esports, the organisers of the event, said Girl Gamer will now have Dubai as its permanent hub in the next five years, after holding two championships in Macau, then Portugal.