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Cup fever in gaming contest

Naharlagun, Aug. 12: Young eager eyes peer into television screens as the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribéry and Robin van Persie slide, tackle and score for their respective teams.

While the Fifa World Cup may be over, for the young boys taking part in the fifth Donli Riba Gaming Quest here at a hotel in the Arunachal Pradesh capital, the football excitement is only just reaching fever pitch.

Altogether 160 participants sweated it out today playing Fifa and Pro Evolution Soccer putting their Playstation skills to the test against other gamers from the capital. The competition ends tomorrow.

Made up of mostly pre-teen and teenage boys, the gamers represent a growing demography of youngsters from the state who have taken to virtual gaming like fish to water. And while to the uninitiated it may seem all fun and games, the young gamers are deadly serious about each match.

While 12-year-old Vijay Biswas is relieved and delighted over getting a walkover to the next round after his opponent failed to turn up, another gamer, Gida Taku, dressed in his Manchester City jersey, looked tense as he hung on to his lead.

A brainchild of filmmaker Moji Riba, the gaming competition was conceived to honour the memory of his nephew Donli who died of lymphoma when he was only 19.

“We don’t hold this competition as a sad remembrance but as a positive way to remember Donli, just the way he lived his life,” said Riba.

However, this year, as in last year, the organisers are trying to generate awareness about the ill effects of tobacco use among the gamers. But this was never part of the original plan, Riba said.

“We began the tobacco abuse awareness theme because we realise a lot of the gamers were consuming gutkha,” he said, adding that, “the gaming competition gives us a perfect platform to create awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco use.”

Besides noble causes, seven-year-old Eding Pertin, who is perhaps the youngest amongst the 160 players, simply wants to take home the winner’s prize with his favourite team Real Madrid.


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