Sarina is the Team Captain of the AthleticoES CS:GO team who went undefeated in the WPGI - a league dedicated to female players - and qualified for the International Copenhagen games. We managed to catch up with Sarina to talk about her experiences in the WPGI, the Copenhagen games, and esports in general.
Kotaku: After your AthleticoES dominated the WPGI tournament here in Australia, you competed in the CS:GO Copenhagen Games. Tell us about your experience there.
Sarina: The experience was honestly like no other. Being in a different country doing something you love was a dream come true. A lot of us have been at this grind for a long time and finally achieving what we’ve dreamed is the highlight of our lives. All the teams, crew and staff at the event were so kind to us and made us feel at home.
Factoring in that you were competing against other highly qualified teams, how different was the competition compared to what you faced here in Australia?
The competition overseas is so much more different than here in Australia. The teams we played against and watched had practiced hard to perfect their gameplay. If anything, it has opened our eyes up and motivated us to prepare as a team for what is to come next. We can see the effort and time that teams have put into practice and I feel as though we can play on-par with them the next time we face them.
It’s no secret that esports as a whole is heavily populated by males, do you find that Female only leagues such as the WPGI will help encourage more Women to compete in esports and help grow the scene?
I feel like we need to remove the stigma that esports is still heavily populated by men. If anything, women feel the need to still hide their gender when playing video games to avoid any stereotyping. WPGI has already shown what it can do for women in esports which has definitely encouraged more to come out and compete. WPGI is a stepping stone for most of these women into another platform of competitive gameplay. It is heart-warming to know that there are people willing to support those who need the push, launching them in to compete in the Oceanic scene and chase their dreams!
You were showing a lot of support for the male CS:GO team also competing at the games in Copenhagen, who were doing quite well! Were all the Aussies banding together to cheer one another on?
We were the only and first female team to represent Australia in the Copenhagen games. As we could tell by our social media, hundreds of fans stayed up into the night to support the team and watch us compete. The community we are surrounded by was extremely encouraging and supportive of the team! We'd love to thank each person that took the time out of their night to watch us play overseas.
What things did you and your team learn during this tournament that would help you all play even better than you are now?
I definitely know for a fact that our team will return stronger in future events. This one was a stepping stone for us to see how all the Europeans and North Americans played on LAN and I feel as though we can play on the same level with them in future international events we compete in. I also think that because we were overseas and playing a game that we love, it has fuelled a lot of fire in us! We’ll all be making the needed sacrifices in our real lives and team wise to push ourselves further!
Any words for aspiring esports competitors who might like to go down this road?
I’ve been in this industry since I was 12 years old. It doesn’t get any easier but you always get better. Each mistake along the way teaches you something new about yourself. You’re allowed to fear the journey along the way but it will take time, require dedication, willpower and a lot of sacrifice. I can’t begin to tell you how much a lot of us had to sacrifice in our own lives to be able to achieve the things we want. And don’t worry, we’re still on the grind and fighting to make this our full-time career and not something we do after we finish work!
Adam Rorke writes about games sometimes. You can catch more of him on Twitter.