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E-sports star Brandon Chia is set to compete in the Asian Games this year after his childhood adoration of the popular video game Street Fighter became his career. However, the Singaporean came incredibly close to becoming a ‘real life’ sportsman.
After falling in love with snooker at a young age, many expected Chia to continue improving and eventually head into the sport as a career. After becoming successful at junior level, he began representing Singapore at Under-21 level and competing on the world stage.
However, in an interview with CNA, Chia revealed that he felt that his love for snooker ‘peaked’ too soon due to his need to be enrolled into the army. He explained: “Unfortunately for me, I feel that I peaked too close to (enlistment in the) army and because of army constraints, I couldn’t perform to the level that I wanted.
“I was deteriorating a lot faster than I wanted to. It wasn’t good for me mentally. I’m not having fun, I’m not enjoying it. At the end of the day, to me, it’s not all about winning, but it’s more about self-satisfaction.”
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Chia ‘gave up’ playing snooker and instead focused his energy on more everyday activities and playing Street Fighter on a regular basis, when he quickly discovered that he was capable of competing at a competitive level. The 30-year-old then began competing in Asia-based tournaments and recorded his first success last year when he won the Capcom Pro Tour in South East Asia.
Asked about what appeals to Chia about Street Fighter and the similarities with sports, he explained: “I always preferred individual sports or games. Even when I watch TV, I prefer sports like golf, tennis, badminton, table tennis, snooker. I like to watch bowling sometimes.
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“Second, I like the reward that comes with it. If I do well in a tournament, I won’t have to say somebody ‘carried’ me.”
Although a drastic career change, Chia has insisted that he has received plenty of support from his family when juggling his working life in the oil industry with competing at the top level in e-sports.
“She’s definitely seen the decline of my snooker,” he explained when asked about how his wife feels about his career. “She has seen that phase. So when I started to find love in competing in another sport/game, she was like: ‘Just go and do it’.”
It remains to be seen whether Chia’s hours of practice will be rewarded with a shock success for Singapore when he competes in the Asia Games later this year.
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