l to r mayank prajapati akshaj shenoy chanarnjot singh and darshan bata  x
Photo: indiatoday

Thousands of Indian youth are answering the seductive call of competitive esports. India’s 15-member esports contingent at the Asian Games is in the vanguard

(L to R) Mayank Prajapati, Akshaj Shenoy, Chanarnjot Singh and Darshan Bata.

(L to R) Mayank Prajapati, Akshaj Shenoy, Chanarnjot Singh and Darshan Bata.

Suhani Singh

ISSUE DATE: Aug 21, 2023 | UPDATED: Aug 11, 2023 15:04 IST

When Mayank Prajapati isn’t changing his two-year-old son’s diapers, he is busy breaking legs and cracking heads in Street Fighter V, a ‘fighting’ video game in which two players use a variety of special techniques and ‘characters’ to knock out opponents. “It is pretty difficultâ€æI don’t sleep at all,” says Prajapati about his balancing act as a freelance architect, a stay-at-home dad and a committed competitive gamer. He is amongst the growing legion of diehard Indian Esports enthusiasts—competi­tive video gaming where people play aga­inst each other online and at spectator events in indoor arenas. Having played Street Fighter for two decades and after winning multiple tournaments in India, 32-year-old Prajapati awaits his finest hour. He will represent India at the Asian Games at Hang­­zhou, China, where Esports makes its debut as a medal event. It gives Prajapati bragging rights to another vocation: an ‘Esports athlete’. “It is pretty satisfying to say that you play video games and represent India,” he says. “People just don’t believe it.”

Mayank Prajapati—Age: 32—Freelance architect—Playing competitively since: 2015—Game: Street Fighter 5, part of India’s Asian Games contingent (Photo: Rajwant Rawat)

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