Professional gaming is regarded by the majority of people as a male-dominated industry, but an all-female team from India has recently proven that women can be good at esports as well. Not only did these girls qualified for an international esports tournament, but they also finished in second place.
Team GERayne represented Central Asia to participate in Legion of Valkyries, an all-female CS:GO competition held by Lenovo with a total prize pool of $11,000. They reached the finals and ended up in second place, taking home the prize of $3000. The team consists of Dilraj Kaur (aged 19), Saloni Pawar (aged 20, Mansi Sottany (aged 23) and her sister Neha (aged 18) and Zarin Nawar (aged 22) – who came from Thailand.
All members of GERayne have a passion for gaming in general and for CS:GO in particular, and while 3 of them (Saloni, Dilraj, and Neha) are still in college, they always set aside time to go to gaming cafes to practice. And it really shows: Their in-game mechanics surprise many. The girls shared that they have been asked to provide video evidence on multiple occasions during their professional matches to prove that it’s actually them playing and not someone else using their accounts.
According to Mansi, she started to get into gaming at the age of 13. At first, she was highly interested in Counter-Strike 1.6 and later switched to CS:GO. Now, she has had a 4-year-long career in professional gaming.
Mansi and Saloni have known each other since they were kids, and for a long time they’d wanted to form their own team. When Mansi’s sister Neha also showed an interest in video games, the three started playing together.
Saloni has been gaming for 4 years and does livestream from time to time. She shared that the reason she considered esports as a serious career was because she saw potential in it. Dilraj, meanwhile, started gaming at 17 years old thanks to her brother, who was also an avid CS:GO player.
Team GERayne practice together for 4-5 hours every day to improve team synergy, and they heard about Legion of Valkyries via Facebook.
Parents view on e-sports
The girls all said that their parents didn’t know anything about esports at first. As a result, they were pretty skeptical about their daughters getting into the field and instead wanted them to use the time to focus on their education and partake in “other useful activities”. However, when they started to learn more about the industry as a whole, they were more understanding.
Why aren't girls competing with the boys
According to Saloni, the reason there are separate tournaments for male and female participants is because studies have shown that on average, women’s reflexes are slower than men – which would put them at a disadvantage. Still, female-focused competitions could make esports more inclusive for women in the long run.
Team GERayne is also subjected to stereotypes and mean comments from boys
Of course, the girls also frequently receive mean comments from the people they play with online – most of whom are boys. Some even refuse to believe that they can be that good at the game and thus accuse them of hacking and cheating. Thankfully, they have learned to ignore these ill-willed comments and focus on the game, according to Mansi.
After their success at Legion of Valkyries, Team GERayne is now set to head to Malaysia to participate in their next esports challenge.