The 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games marks the very first time for esports to be included as a part of the medal tally. For this year, Philippines will play host to SEA Games in Manila and will feature video games such as Dota 2, Starcraft II, Arena of Valor, Mobile Legends and finally, Tekken 7.
Team Malaysia’s Tekken 7 athletes are currently training day and night in preparation for the approaching event. As the SEA Games allow two representatives from each participating country, Team Malaysia will be represented by 20-year-old Zarif “Zaba” Aiman from Kuala Lumpur and 28-year-old Abdul “Fate Q” Rahim from Penang.
Player’s Background and Training
Naturally, both players have years of experience in playing Tekken. Rahim has 11 years of experience while Zarif has been playing games from the series for seven years.
Currently, the players are now placed in a boot camp under Orange eSports in Wangsa Maju. They also visit weekly gatherings with the local Tekken community at Game Fusion in Bandar Sunway and Geek Empire in Ampang.
As part of their training, the players play against one another, including the coach, Ahmad Tarmizi Mohamad, in search of the best strategy. The players mentioned that they train with each other for up to four hours a day. They also continue to individually experiment with different characters and familiarise themselves with frame data for up to five hours a day.
According to Zarif, his greatest support comes from his parents, as they always attend as a spectator whenever he is playing in a tournament. Additionally, his siblings are very competitive when it comes to Tekken, and have been since he was younger.
Rahim says his motivation comes from his mother who is a retired religious teacher. He also mentioned that it is quite a challenge to travel from Penang to Kuala Lumpur for boot camp and training purposes. Nonetheless, Rahim decides to do so to fight for the nation’s pride.
For their recent achievements, Zarif and Rahim have shown consistent performance throughout the years. In the most recent Selangor Cyber Games (SCG) 2019 tournament, Zarif has managed to defend his title as the champion as he has also took first place in SCG 2018.
Rahim is not too far behind, placing second in SCG 2018 and third during SCG 2019. Tarmizi, the coach, also took seventh place in SCG 2019 as well.
Recently, Zarif was sent to Manila for a SEA Games test run to familiarise himself with the environment. At the end of the test run, Zarif managed to take third place. Additionally, he also had the opportunity to meet Korean professional gamer, Kim “JDCR” Hyunjin who was an advisor to all the Tekken 7 athletes.
Both Zarif and Rahim were selected since the SEA Games Squad Selection back in May 2019. At the grand finals of the qualifier, Zarif was crowned as the winner with Rahim as the first runner up. Naturally, the two athletes were picked up by the Olympic Council of Malaysia to represent our nation. Additionally, Tekken veteran, Ahmad “Koman” Tarmizi was picked up as the coach.
Words From The Players
Both players expressed gratitude to the Tekken community in Malaysia for the support over the years, ever since the arcade days. Zarif mentioned to us that he is grateful for his siblings to be his training partner at home and prepares him for the medal event.
Following suit, Rahim would like to thank Tarmizi, the team coach for the insights and motivation throughout the training sessions. Additionally, the players would like to see a bigger Tekken scene in Malaysia as well as having larger tournaments in the future.
At the time of writing, the 2019 SEA Games is less than a month away, with its opening ceremony on 30 November. According to the schedule, the Tekken 7 medal event will start on 10 December at 12.30 pm Malaysian time.