SEA Games 2019: E-Sports make medal breakthrough
12 December 2019
By Angelina Dass
Singapore’s e-sports contingent ended their 30th Southeast Asian Games campaign with two medals in hand after six days of thrilling gaming.
Thomas Kopankiewicz clinches the silver medal in Starcraft II on Tuesday (10 Dec)
Thomas Kopankiewicz and Chew Khai Kiat clinched a silver and bronze in their respective events held at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Thomas picked up a silver in Starcraft II after losing 3-1 to Acampado Caviar of the Philippines in the finals on Tuesday (10 Dec).
Khai Kiat fell to Malaysia’s Weng Kean Yew 3- 1 to claim the bronze in the Hearthstone (PC) Individual event on Friday (6 Dec).
"I'm not feeling great, I could have done better I feel. My opponent played very well and caught me off guard with a lot of his play styles,” said 23-year-old Thomas who had previously met and lost to Acampado in the qualifying rounds.
Thomas had beaten Vietnam’s Tran Hong Phuc on Friday to make Tuesday’s finals. During the three days in between, Thomas spent about three hours each morning training for the pinnacle match.
Thomas embraces Acampado Caviar, his opponent from the Philippines.
“I headed to the LAN (local area network) cafe to try out different strategies with my practice partners, change up one or two things,” said Thomas, who trained up to eight hours a day during the weekends leading into the competition.
“But Acampado held them (strategies) pretty well. So, for the rest of the series, I thought I’d bring it to long games because whenever it goes to longer games, I usually play much better. That was the game plan,” he said.
Despite the loss, he admits it has been an unforgettable journey so far.
“It’s been a crazy Cinderella story and I’m so glad I have a good showing here, even though it's a silver and not the gold," he said.
"It's crazy how far we have come, the number of hurdles that have been thrown at us,” he said.
Thomas in action as he tries for the gold.
Thomas, who had moved to Singapore 19 years ago, had to get a Singaporean passport and give up his German citizenship in the lead up to the Games. This process included sessions with his local member of parliament, multiple emails to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and a trip to Berlin to sort out the German side of things. All for the sake of representing Singapore at the regional Games.
“My team, my friends, my family and all those who have been supporting me. Never at any point did they make me give up," he said.
"I just keep fighting and doing what I can and keep believing in my abilities, so here we are."