Three young novice monks from the Balee Sathit Suksa school were crowned as champions of an esports tournament for a mobile racing game in Thailand.
The three novices emerged as the victors at the 2019 KKU Nong Khai Fair held at the Khon Kaen University, Nong Khai campus on August 19 for the online racing mobile game “Speed Drifters.”
“The novices wanted to try entering the competition, so we gave them that opportunity… we didn’t expect to actually win,” academic coordinator and monk at the Balee Sathit Suksa school, Kokkiad Chaisamchareonlap, told Coconuts Bangkok.
Although many publications in Thailand have said that the game the monks played was called “ROV,” a popular battle arena mobile game, Kokkiad said this information was inaccurate.
“All these news publications got the information wrong, but I don’t know how to correct the information,” he said.
The game they were competing on is actually called “Speed Drifters,” a multiplayer online racing game developed by Tencent and published by Garena.
Even though Balee Sathit Suksa is a Buddhist school for young monks, Kokkiad said they only study religion for 20 hours a week, while the rest of their time in school is dedicated to traditional curricula.
Some of the students, however, were introduced to esports through a computer class. A few of them liked the idea of esports and began to practice every day during their free time.
Winning the tournament was definitely an achievement for the young monks, but some criticized the students for attending the tournament in their robes.
Kokkiad defended the students and dismissed the criticisms as unreasonable.
“The novices are just children, like other people their age that need to grow, develop their skills and explore their interests,” he said.
Kokkiad also added the students deserve every opportunity and they shouldn’t be denied those because of the robes they wear.
“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 want to compete, they asked to. So we gave them the opportunity,” he said.
Images via Facebook / nkc.academic