You might not have associated Pakistan with gaming, but you will now. Arslan Siddique is probably the best story coming out of Evo 2019 in the US after scoring a win in Evo Japan. In the biggest fighting game tournament of the year, Siddique, who goes by Arslan Ash, has turned heads.
The 23-year-old Pakistani scored a victory over Knee, a dominant South Korean player in Evo Japan earlier this year. After the victory in Japan, Ash was finally on the map not only for himself but for his country as well. When you think of eSports, you think of champions from Korea, Japan, and the United States, but you never think of there being an eSports community in Pakistan. Arslan Ashe isn’t just representing Pakistan, but he’s bringing a name to the entire South Asia. In fact, in Evo’s 23 years of existence, there hasn’t been a single champion from the region at all. Until now!
However, the rise of Arslan Siddique almost didn’t happen. He was stranded and starving in Japan’s Haneda airport over visa issues. It’s almost as if the powers-that-be wanted a feel-good story coming out of EVO 2019! The currency machine wouldn’t convert his money, he didn’t eat for almost two days due to no one accepting his country’s currency, and he relied on water for almost two days while his team scrambled to get him to the tournament.
When the Tekken 7 tournament began in Japan’s Evo, Arslan Ash was there to dominate. While Japan’s Evo isn’t as big a draw as the USA’s annual Evo tournament, Siddique climbed his way through the smaller brackets to find himself face-to-face with South Korea’s Jae-Min “Knee” Bae. He shot in the myth of Knee by defeating him the first time in the Tekken 7 tournament. However, this wasn’t the first time they met face-to-face and it wouldn’t be their last. Ashe and Knee previously met in OUG’s 2018 tournament in the United Arab Emirates, where Ashe came out the victor.
With his own legendary story building, Ashe made his way to Evo 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite his hardships and heartache during his rise through the ranks, he saw his greatest barrier again in the halls of Mandalay Bay: Knee. However, his skill allowed him to overcome and take the prize at the Tekken 7 tournament. While he is no longer the underdog, he will always remember his roots and the people who supported him along the way. Now the rest of the world knows: the best can come from anywhere, even Pakistan.
While Ash brings home the championship for Tekken 7, other champions have been bringing home the gold for titles newly added to the Evo tournaments! Don’t miss out on it, your favorite fighting title could be in it!