UK Home Nations win 11 medals at inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships in Birmingham, including a trio of golds – report and reaction

Gregan Jorhdys Commonwealth

United nations: England Rocket League personality Gregan poses with Team Scotland Rocket League women’s player (and Tundra Esports streamer) Jorhdys – image courtesy of British Esports’ Jonas ‘Jiggi’ Kontautas

Article by Jack Freeman and Dom Sacco

The UK’s home nation esports teams picked up 11 medals in the first Commonwealth Esports Championships on the weekend in Birmingham’s International Convention Center (ICC).

Esports England won five medals, including a gold for their women’s Rocket League team, Esports Wales won three (including a gold in the Rocket League open), Esports Scotland earned two silver medals and Esports Northern Ireland claimed a gold medal in women’s eFootball.

But it was Malaysia who topped the medals table overall, with three gold medals, including one in the Dota 2 open and one in the Dota 2 women’s tournament, where they beat England in both.

The Commonwealth Esports Championships was first announced earlier this year. The weekend-long event was organised in conjunction with the Global Esports Federation and the Commonwealth Games Federation, and heralded the beginning of Global Esports’ partnership with the West Midlands.

All of the home nations competed between August 2nd and 7th 2022 to go alongside the physical Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Jack Freeman attended the finals for Esports News UK and has posted a more detailed summary of how the home nations did over the finals weekend below. He’ll also be back with a separate opinion piece on the event.

Esports England take a series of bronze, silver and gold medals

Esports England Women's Rocket League Team
Esports England’s women’s Rocket League team receive their gold medals – photo by Jack Freeman

Host country Esports England picked up five medals: bronze in women’s eFootball, gold in women’s Rocket League, and silvers in Dota 2 open, Dota 2 women’s and Rocket League open.

England women’s Rocket League player Bella Athena ‘Crimson’ Selwood said: “We were very confident, we know how good we are, but to then go out on the stage and prove it is incredible. It’s an unreal feeling to have esports at the Commonwealth, to play for your country. There are so few words to describe it.

“The nerves hit us a bit. It’s a different environment up there on that incredible stage with a live audience. You’re next to your teammate, and you can look over and say: ‘damn right’. There is a rivalry with Scotland, although I play with Sophie from their team, and we are all friends.

“I’d love to be an inspiration; they are looking to include this in the Commonwealth Games. I’d love it if young girls think, ‘there is a place for me, there is a scene for me’. I feel incredible.

“We were very confident, we know how good we are, but to then go out on the stage and prove it is incredible. It’s an unreal feeling to have esports at the Commonwealth, to play for your country. There are so few words to describe it.”

Crimson, Esports England

“And the crowd is great as always, they get to cheer you on and they’re rooting for you and it’s an incredible feeling to be able to do it at home for the home nation. We are so so happy and so thankful to the crowd who were cheering, it just feels incredible.”

We also caught up with Takara from the Esports England women’s Rocket League roster after Insomnia 69 here.

Dota 2 also went splendidly for Team England as they scored silvers in both the open and women’s series. In a strange twist of fate, both teams had to face off against Team Malaysia if they wanted the gold medals, and despite some close games, were unable to achieve gold.

England Dota 2 open player Jason ‘Tanner’ Weedon commented: “We prepared well, but during the game, we basically lost our footing and the enemy took a really big advantage.

“In game two we came back strong. We did very well and that was a deserved win. In the third game, we were ahead, and I felt like we had the better draft, but the execution was just off.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling. I felt like we could have got gold. But in the end, the Commonwealth Esports
Championships was a great event and I’m pleased we came out to play.”

Esports Northern Ireland’s Emzii pulls off eFootball masterclass

emzii gold efootball
It was gold for Emzii and Northern Ireland in the eFootball women’s tournament (image courtesy of Global Esports Federation)

Esports Northern Ireland had one competitor that made it to the finals – Emma ‘Emzii’ Rose.

Having reached the finals of the women’s eFootball competition, Emzii didn’t disappoint as she played with style, confidence and energy, beating Wales’ Amey Fisher in the final.

After securing the gold medal, Emzii told Esports News UK:

“Winning feels absolutely amazing! For a trans woman from Northern Ireland to be able to represent my country and to actually win the gold, is just absolutely insane! No words will ever really sum up how this feels.”

Emzii, Esports Northern Ireland

“And I was against seriously talented women who I can now call friends.

“I also want to share that gaming saved my life. I spent many years battling depression before I came out – and jumping on a game was my escape – so for someone like me to be here is a complete honour. I just want anyone out there who feels they’re not good enough, not worth it, or feels like they can’t be them, I want everyone one of you to know that you are completely worth it and if I can come from a small town in Northern Ireland to represent my country then you can too.”

On the tournament organising, Emzii added: “I think maybe things could have went smoother involving rule changes and such, but it’s the first year so teething issues were always gonna happen. But overall I got to play games and represent my country which is something I’ll be forever grateful for!”

Emzii added in an interview about winning the gold and dealing with transphobic abuse here.

Esports Scotland secure set of silvers

esports scotland silver womens rocket league
Scotland’s women’s Rocket League took silver (image courtesy of British Esports)

Team Scotland took home two silver medals – in the eFootball open and women’s Rocket League.

Scotland had a troubling start in the eFootball open series final as they spent the majority of the first game down by a single goal against Team Malaysia, unable to recover. There was some improvement in game two, however.

The curse of the late goals returned for the women’s Rocket League final against England, as Scotland dropped the game-deciding goal in the last minute of the first game. After a poor second game they managed to claw it back in game three to push England into overtime, which worried the home crowd. Scotland fought well, eventually taking the silver.

“There aren’t that many females playing esports and being able to be part of this competition is overwhelming. It hasn’t really kicked in yet that this has been a thing. It makes everything so much more open and gives females more opportunities.”

Jorhdys, Esports Scotland

Scotland women’s Rocket League player and Tundra Esports streamer Jordan ‘Jorhdys’ Drummond said: “We came into it knowing England was the strongest team. We lost against them in the group stage. It was great to meet again, it was like a revenge thing. We improved a lot, and we made the games a lot closer than we expected them to be. I’m happy.

“There aren’t that many females playing esports and being able to be part of this competition is overwhelming. It hasn’t really kicked in yet that this has been a thing. It makes everything so much more open and gives females more opportunities.”

Esports Wales silence home fans as they shine in Rocket League

esports wales gold rocket league
Esports Wales’ Rocket League open team secured gold (image courtesy of British Esports)

Once again football reigned supreme as Esports Wales made their mark in eFootball and Rocket League. They won gold in the Rocket League open, silver in eFootball women’s and bronze in the eFootball open.

Wales made it look easy in the Rocket League open final against England as they silenced the home crowd and swept the match 3-0. The highlight of the match was George ‘Breezi’ Rusiecki’s goal line save in the final minute to secure the second game.

Euan ‘Tadpole’ Ingram – who has just joined Williams Resolve as coach – had this to say after the match: “It’s unreal. After the gold medals and then beating England, being Welsh is a little bit poetic.”

In the women’s eFootball series, Wales’ Amey Fisher disappointed the English fans as they beat Team England’s Alia ‘Aliawgharvey’ Harvey to advance to the finals. Unfortunately for them, their opponent in the finals was Emma ‘Emzii’ Rose from Northern Ireland who left them with a silver medal for their efforts.

And looking at eFootball, Cerith ‘CerithDennis’ Dennis took down Team Gibraltar’s Dean ‘Deanoszn’ Penfold in what was a close and emotional bronze medal match.

How did the first Commonwealth Esports event go?

It wasn’t all plain sailing. Esports Wales Dota 2 Open player David ‘Dai’ Jones posted a Twitlonger detailing some issues at the Commonwealth Esports Championships, including a lack of a consistent central broadcast, players staying in student accomodation (which some told Esports News UK “wasn’t great”), and format criticisms, including the eFootball format changing late. Other teams told ENUK the format could’ve been improved, for example using best-of-sevens in Rocket League.

However, Dai did highlight the PCs and facilities were of good quality, and how overall the experience was “hugely positive”.

Upcomer reported that the Global Esports Federation said they were live streaming games on both Twitch and YouTube, but didn’t, with some teams independently streaming on their own Twitch channels.

Esports News UK heard of other reports, of mixmatched headsets being used in the week before the finals on stage, rather than a consistent setup, and sound was out of sync on the Dota 2 stream last week, among other technical issues.

Some teams found it odd to pose next to a big trophy on stage, only to find out the trophy was for “the people of the West Midlands”, not for any teams.

We understand FaceIT was on board helping to run the tournaments, with UK hosting and casting talent on board, including Veracity and Freya Spiers.

Harry ‘Wonderboy’ Channon led the eFootball series commentators’ team, while Dota 2 had Jack ‘MoFarah’ Williams on hand with analysis, as well as Rocket League’s Elliot ‘TofuElliot’ Barham delivering his views.

Fan attendance was mixed, with the Dota 2 and Rocket League opens having the better atmospheres. Viewers could also apparently watch the games on live TV using the red button.

Northern Ireland player Emzii reported seeing transphobic comments during the championships, as did others including UK Rocket League player Kash:

It also looks like esports could also appear in the 2026 Victoria Commonwealth Esports Games too.

Further reading: Who actually are the Global Esports Federation? Interview with CEO Paul J. Foster

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