Amjad “AngryBird” Al-Shalabi and Adel “Big Bird” Anouche kick off their participation in Gamers8's Street Fighter 6 tournament in Riyadh on Thursday.
The pair are part of the Nasr Esports team, which has its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, and hope to build on their string of international tournament wins.
On Monday, Jordanian gamer Al-Shalabi was crowned champion at the Las Vegas event Evo 2023 – considered the world’s most competitive and prestigious fighting game tournament. Meanwhile, Anouche, from Algeria, won at Red Bull’s Kumite competition in South Africa last month.
Al-Shalabi tells The National: “Entering tournaments as a world champion is no different than entering it without being a champion.
“Winning a big tournament doesn’t mean you’re the favourite every time so you have to try your best to stay at the zone every time and not lose patience,” he adds.
“Gamers8 is an amazing event and I’m really grateful for this opportunity and will do my best in the tournament alongside my teammate, Big Bird.”
Abdullatif “Latif” Hisham will also be playing at Gamers8, on home soil, representing team Nasr.
The Street Fighter 6 competition at Gamers8 will have 32 of the best players in the world battle it out for a $1 million prize, with the final being held on Sunday.
Some of the most famous players taking part include Saul “MenaRD” Leonardo from the Dominican Republic, a finalist at Evo 2023, and Daigo Umehara from Japan, a regular in fighting game championships.
A tournament for the popular battle royale game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, known as PUBG, will also start on Thursday, with the winning team taking home $2 million.
Popular teams FaZe Clan and Cerberus Esports are set to take part in the event.
The elite tournaments at Gamers8 will conclude with a Counter-Strike competition on August 16, followed by a Rocket League event.
Gamers8 began on July 7 in the Saudi capital. In a previous interview with The National, Turki Alfawzan, chief executive of the Saudi Esports Federation, said Gamers8 aims to strengthen the kingdom's standing as a future global hub for the gaming industry, while also welcoming tourists from within the region.
“A key goal of ours is to develop the gaming and Esports industry locally and internationally,” he said.
“We want to support, sponsor and introduce national talents as well as attract visitors from all over the world.”
Gamers8 runs until August 31. Tickets are available at gamers8.gg