On February 12th ’17 we’ve published a small article on the GNSK, the Great Dutch Student Championship, which will be held in Eindhoven on June 9th until June 11th 2017. Esports will be admitted as a ‘sports of choice’ for the first time. This is a very positive development for esports in general, so we got in touch with the GNSK board.
Tim Schillemans (sports commission) and Nena Leenen (PR) explain why esports has been chosen:
According to the GNSK, what qualifies esports as a sport?
During the promotion period the GNSK held we’ve noticed people have different views on esport as a sport. However, as we’ve explained during that period, the competitive aspect of esports is the qualification that gives esport the right to a Dutch Student Championship. It’s not about just playing a game, it’s about training and tactics that you’ll need to play the game, the same as in any other sport. This has been confirmed in Eindhoven two years ago by making esports a part of the Eindhoven Student Sport federation.
Does Eindhoven especially relate to esports, having the image of Tech City in the Netherlands?
One of this year’s GNSK goals was to give it the ‘Eindhoven Edge’. For this we’re consulting the umbrella organization Urban Sports but we also wanted to express this through the choice in sports we’re offering.
Just like we did with all sports associations, we talked to the Eindhoven Esports Association as well (ESEV Zephyr (Eindhovense Studenten eSports Vereniging Zephyr). After we’ve had our first talk not only Zephyr but also her sister associations showed a lot of enthusiasm. This guarantee of participants for the championship weekend plus the enthusiasm made us decide esports has a good chance at success at the GNSK.
Do you have many entries yet?
Teams are entering through their home town sports association as soon as they have a complete team. Entries have only opened a week ago, so we don’t have any definitive entries yet. Because ESEV Zephyr is in close contact with her sister associations we expect a large turnout. Besides that, every city has a lot of single gamers. To reach them we’ve deployed OSSOs (umbrella student sports organizations) to spread the word.
Is there a need for any specific volunteers for the tournament?
On one hand, organizing an esports tournament is challenging, on the other hand, the concept is fairly simple. If you have a space and the right tools, you’ll have covered the main things. We do still need volunteers, e.g. for the intra- and internet specifics and the optimum set up for the gamers, but we have a whole commission to work that out. If you feel like helping (or participating), please check out the website http://www.gnsk.nl/inschrijven/.
How’s the tournament set up?
To pay tribute to the different aspects in esports, we’ve chosen to play three different games: League of Legends, Super Smash Bros 4 and Hearthstone. LoL and Hearthstone will be played on the online publisher’s server. Eindhoven’s Student Sports center’s internet will be strong enough to process a large amount of internet traffic. ESEV Zephyr has organized tournaments like this before and it’s proven to work adequately.
For rulebooks we’d like to refer to our website http://www.gnsk.nl/esports/ where all is explained in detail. The commission is still looking for an independent referee. Of course standard rules will apply, cheating will be sanctioned by the referee and esports commission.
Is the SSN* the first European country to admit esports?
It’s a well-known fact esports are getting more and more attention worldwide. This shows in the rise of esports student organization in The Netherlands. I’m not sure if Holland is the first in Europe, but it could well be!
Will esports be a fixed part of the SSN competition, including the European Student Championships (ESK)?
There’re no esports in the European Championship at the moment and it’s not something we can influence right now. Maybe in a couple of years we will be able to do so. However, I do think esports will have to prove itself as a stable factor for the coming years. It’s hard to say esports will stay in the GNSK. Since it’s organized in a different city every year, means and possibilities for each sport need to be evaluated each year too. If it’s not a part of the GNSK next year, I’m sure one of the bigger organizations will organize their own Dutch Student Championship.
What’s GNSK’s input for the Gambia Sport Foundation?
Out of every €43 every participant pays to enter for a whole weekend of sport, food&drinks, accommodation and festivities, €0,50 goes to this year’s good cause: the Gambia Sport Foundation. This foundation makes it possible for Gambian children to be able to sport. Besides donating sport outfits, the foundation raises money to build a school in Gambia. We ask every student to donate (sport) outfits but also left over utensils like mobile phones, laptops and computers and school accessories. Everything will be distributed among schools, teachers and locals in Gambia.
Separately, the foundation will present itself with a stand and/or small activity, we’re still talking about that.
Student Sport foundation Netherlands (SSN) is Holland’s largest student sports organization. As an umbrella organization it promotes over 130.000 students’ interests. GNSK is part of SSN.