In the realm of esports, few names shine as brightly as Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok,' and the Hangzhou Asian Games have aptly showcased his superstar status. With Faker's presence, a multitude of journalists have converged, sparking fierce competition for interviews. Inside the athlete's village, athletes from other sports get in line to get photographs alongside Faker. Even as Faker concluded his first qualifying match at the Hangzhou Asian Games and passed through the mixed zone, a throng of people gathered, all eager for an interview. Remarkably, Faker remained accessible and engaged with journalists, being the last to leave the mixed zone.
When asked about his adjustment to the local environment, Faker admitted that it's still challenging due to his non-morning person tendencies. He mentioned, "I'm not a morning person, so it's tough. Nevertheless, I don't have any issues adapting."
In response to whether he felt the rising popularity of esports at the Asian Games, Faker noted, "We haven't played in the main arena yet, so I couldn't sense the excitement. However, I did feel that many people were showing interest. I think there will be a large audience when we compete on a bigger stage. I look forward to sharing this experience with many people." He pinpointed his arrival at the airport and arrival at the athlete's village as key moments when he realized the extent of his popularity.
Reflecting on his first match as a representative of South Korea, donning the national flag, Faker shared, "Since it was a qualifier, the game itself wasn't very intense. So, I didn't feel the liveliness. However, I do feel that we’ve now begun, so I’m looking forward to the games.”
In this tournament, the most formidable adversary looms as China, the defending champions. South Korea's League of Legends national team may encounter China in the semifinals, presenting a significant challenge. Faker commented, "I think China is an exceptionally strong opponent. I want to approach it without any undue pressure, with a humble mindset. We have regrets from the past tournament where we couldn't win, but this is a new challenge, and I'll devote myself to this competition."
Faker also touched upon the competition for a starting position with Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, who shares the duty of representing the mid lane for the national team. Faker stated, "Chovy is an outstanding player who has won three consecutive domestic tournaments. I think anyone who plays will be suitable. Naturally, the most important thing is that the best player represents us and wins the gold medal. That's what I believe in as a team."
Faker had faced a setback due to a wrist injury during the summer split, causing him to miss several games. About his wrist condition, he assured, "Thanks to the diligent treatment I received in Korea, most of the discomfort in my wrist has disappeared, so I'm almost worry-free about the injury now. I've been steadily recovering since my form dropped significantly after the injury. Compared to when I was in Korea, I feel less discomfort, and I'm gradually getting better."