Three apprentice monks go viral after winning an esports tournament
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It came as a pleasant surprise at Khon Kaen University’s annual esports competition when three young apprentice monks climbed the stage to receive their prizes for winning an online racing tournament.
Khon Kaen University’s Nong Khai campus held its annual Nong Khai Fair from August 15 - 18. The event also features esports tournaments as well and it was one of these that the young monks were crowned the champions of.
"The novices wanted to try entering the competition, so we gave them that opportunity. However, we didn’t expect them to actually win,” said Kokkiad Chaisamchareonlap, the academic coordinator and head monk of the boys' school.
All three are high school seniors at Balee Sathit Suksa, a school in a northeastern province of Thailand which educates young monks. The curriculum only dedicates 20 hours a week for religious study, with the rest of its student's time spent on more common subjects like computer studies. A number of students discovered esports through their computer class, picked it up and train whenever the opportunity arises.
When called out to receive their prizes, many present were surprised to see the young apprentices take the stage because they came dressed in their saffron robes. It was their unconventional look that led to them going viral.
Their presence in the tournament and subsequent win was met with both positive and negative reactions from many but it is a perfect example of how esports has the power to break the invisible barriers we put up between us.
In reply to some of the negative criticism gained, Kokkiad said, “The novices are just children, like other people their age that need to grow, develop their skills and explore their interests.” He also added, “We wanted to give the students an opportunity. A lot of them don’t have that coming from poor families or broken homes. The three wanted to compete. They asked to, so we gave them the opportunity,”
It also turns out that Balee Sathit Suksa students were not the only kids from a religious school to compete, just the only ones that won.