Namibia in Games of the Future 

Eliaser Muutwika (right), a computer science student at Botho University in Ongwediva is currently representing Namibia at the International Games of the Future in Russia. Photo: contributed

Eliaser Muutwika, a computer science student with Botho University at Ongwediva, gained valuable experience at the recent International Games of the Future in Russia.

He was Namibia’s sole representative at the innovative multi-game tournament that incorporates a blend of physical and e-sport competitions staged in Kazan from 28 February to 3 March.

Invented in Russia, the ‘phygital’ (physical plus digital) format at the core of the Games of the Future combines traditional sport and cybersport in a unique mix.

According to Russian media, a total of 21 combined disciplines were part of the tournament, with the overall prize money standing at US$10 million (about N$191 million).

“It’s really a nice and challenging competition. I was competing against people from developed countries, and in technology they are on a high level,” Muutwika says.

His category, competitive programming, reportedly had one of the highest individual discipline prize funds, with the winner getting 4,5 million roubles (about N$937 000).

“All I wanted was to get experience, because I’m also a computing student, and it’s a way of enhancing my skills when I take part in these kind of activities.”

The event reportedly brought together over 2 000 participants between the ages of 12 and 62 competing in 294 teams, and over 2 000 athletes from 107 nations.

The games featured events ranging from phygital football, hockey, and basketball to more traditional cybersport and high-tech contests, such as drone racing, competitive programming, and robot battles.

“My goals were to solve most of the competition’s problems, and at least walk away with a certain prize, which I managed,” Muutwika says.

He adds he would like further exposure at such platforms.

“It’s good motivation for me to continue doing this. It’s my first time, but for most of the guys I was competing with it was their fourth or fifth time,” he says.

“It was really a great opportunity, you learn a lot of things. I also want to end up at the international level.

“Some of the guys we were competing with have attended the international competition in sport programming already. That’s where I want to end up.

“I want to be a great programmer or technician, so I would be able to help innovate in our country as well.”

The Games of the Future were a global success, Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Chernyshenko declared when addressing journalists as the event came to a close on Sunday, Azerbaycan24 reported.

The games managed to attract a massive global audience, with viewership numbers reaching around 2,2 billion, he said, although official figures have not been made public yet.

The final day of the games included several finals in some of the most entertaining and popular disciplines, like phygital football, skateboarding, and racing.

The games have become an “internationally recognized brand”, Chernyshenko said, adding that Russia “has once again proven its leading role in the global sport community”.

He praised the tournament participants, calling them “pioneers of the phygital sport” that had “inspired the world”.

As many as 63 nations have started holding similar tournaments at home, while nine countries have expressed willingness to host the next such international event, Chernyshenko said.

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