On Sep. 25, South Korea's national team for League of Legends, representing esports in the 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China, secured resounding victories against Hong Kong and Kazakhstan in the group stage competition. T1's Choi “Zeus” Woo-je and Ryu “Keria” Mi-seok, playing as the top and support, respectively, contributed significantly to their team's success by delivering outstanding performances.
The team made an appearance at the venue as early as 7:30 AM. Given the nature of professional gamers, who often finish their practice sessions late into the night, concerns loomed over their condition. Zeus expressed, "I woke up at 5:30 AM to make it to the venue. I've been trying to adapt for the past few days, and while it's not perfect, I'm in the process of adjusting." Keria remarked, "I woke up earlier than usual. We had enough time, but I got a bit tired because I had a brief interruption in my sleep."
When it came to sharing their thoughts on playing their first matches at the Hangzhou Asian Games, both players provided insights into their experiences. Zeus stated, "I believe we haven't played in the main arena yet. Today was just the qualifiers, so it's regrettable that we couldn't play in the main arena. However, we are adapting, even though it's challenging with the English client. Setting up the English settings was difficult, but it's good that we could prepare in advance."
Keria added, "I heard that the venue for the main matches is different from where we played today. We will have to go and see it for ourselves to get a better idea of the environment. Today's games were enjoyable, especially since it's been a while since we competed."
With victories against Hong Kong and Kazakhstan, the South Korean League of Legends professional team secured a spot in the quarterfinals. Both Zeus and Keria emphasized that reaching the quarterfinals isn't their ultimate goal; they are focused on winning the gold medal. Keria said, "It's good that we made it to the quarterfinals. Our goal, however, is the gold medal. We will continue to prepare and enhance our performance in the quarterfinals and on."Zeus shared, "To be honest, today's matches were a situation where we could have been eliminated if we lost one game. Still, we were relieved after defeating Hong Kong. It’ll be more interesting from now on."
The most critical challenge for these players lies ahead in the semifinals, where they will face the Chinese national team, a formidable contender for the gold medal. Keria assessed, "I think China, Chinese Taipei, and Vietnam are the strongest teams. However, among them, China is the opponent we absolutely must defeat to win the gold medal. We meet them sooner than expected, and we need to perform well. China is undoubtedly strong, but if we prepare well and manage our condition effectively, we can definitely win."
Team Korea’s next opponent will be Saudi Arabia. They will meet in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, clashing in a best-of-three format.