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Swedish Counter-Strike celebrity dead-set on convincing his country that eSports is as legitimate as any sport

Emil 'HeatoN' Kristensen

Swedish CS:GO star Emil ‘HeatoN’ Christensen is calling on Sweden’s biggest sports NGO to recognise eSports as legitimate sports, and he’s got science on his side.

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HeatoN is a legend of the CS:GO scene, currently serving as manager of Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP), a team he captained to numerous successes in the past. In an article for Swedish newspaper Metro – which non-Swedish speakers can read via Google’s idiosyncratic translator here – HeatoN argues that eSports are equally as taxing as traditional sports in many ways.

He cites Professor IngoFroböse of the German Sports University in Cologne, who told German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle in Marchthat science proves eSports pros are exposed to similar physical strains as traditional athletes. They are frequently called upon to make over 400 movements per minute, stimulating their brains roughly more than four times more often than an average human. Prof Froböse is quoted saying eSports are “just as demanding as most other types of sports, if not more demanding.”

HeatoN goes on to tackle the stereotypical image of competitive gamers as antisocial or violent, and notes that Sweden, despite its “long tradition” of excellence in eSports, risks being left behind by countries such as the USA; in America, the P1 Athletic Visa programme acknowledges eSports stars as athletes, and enables foreign players to reside and compete in the USA.

Sport is considered a national pastime in Sweden, with about half the country’s population active in sporting activities. Hence, the Swedish Sports Confederation is an especially influential NGO which regularly consults with the Swedish government, and claims, through its member organisations, three million members across 22,000 clubs.

Thanks to PvP Live.