Kommu, a 24-year-old mechanical engineering master's student at IIT Guwahati, is also preparing to represent India at the 2021 Esports World Championship in Israel.
Academics and gaming are not a popular combo. It usually has a negative connotation when it does combine. However, there is one young Indian who is defying the prejudice that gamers don’t excel in school or that scholars aren’t excellent at gaming. Hemanth Kommu, an Andhra Pradesh native, is a student at the famous Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the national champion of the popular soccer game Pro Evolution Soccer (PES).
Kommu, a 24-year-old mechanical engineering master’s student at IIT Guwahati, is also preparing to represent India at the 2021 Esports World Championship in Israel.
Hemanth Kommu was simply another casual gamer who played on weekends for fun before Esports was included as a demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games, when India was represented by JauntyTank and Tirth Mehta.
What Hemanth Kommu didn’t realise was that his stress-relieving gaming habit was also preparing him to be one of India’s finest players at the upcoming national tournament. That’s exactly what he did.
With a top-position finish in PES 2021 in the South Asia Region, Hemanth Kommu also became the first Indian to make it through to the Finals at the ongoing edition of the Esports World Championships.
How did you get into gaming and then esports?
Got into gaming initially through TV video games, where my brother and I used to play co-op games like contra and Teenage mutant ninja turtles, etc. When it comes to PES, I started playing from PES 2007. From PES 2017 the game has its own Esports competition. I used to watch those competitions. I came to know about ESFI and PES being a title for National Esports champions only when I heard news that PES 18 was part of Asian games demonstration event in which India was also participating.
How did you get into playing PES?
I got PS2 and PES 2007 as a gift from my uncle since then i was playing PES.
How are you managing IIT along with training or vice versa?
This semester we have only 1 course(3hrs/week) and rest thesis project so I dedicate morning till 5/6pm to academics, personal work, etc. then from 9-12pm/1am for training. I note down all my weak, strong areas, effective in game strategies and work on them, also I do watch streams of other pro players around the world and listen to their to feedback.
Has the pandemic been a blessing in disguise for you, much like it has been for Esports globally?
Maybe ,if there was no pandemic I would be preparing for competitive exams and wouldn’t be at home but because of pandemic I had to change lot my decisions of my career even doing M.tech so its 50-50 Yeah but for participating in tournaments and getting better at game 100%.
How did you qualify for Esports world? Was the competition tough during the qualifiers?
I have won all my games in national qualifiers and lost my 1st match (b03) against UAE and then I regained my form and defeated (Maldives, Pakistan-bye, UAE-bye, Sri Lanka) and won the regional qualifiers. I would say tough because the game was poorly optimised when u play with players from other countries online and in game itself unlucky moments will happen The players in national qualifiers itself play very good.
Do you plan to do Esports full time after IIT?
I never thought of that, as of now NO. But I feel we had to do lot of work to have proper Esports ecosystem especially in PES. Football Clubs from Europe & South-America are now giving contracts to Esports players and letting them represent their club in Esports competitions/E-League just like a football league. Similarly in Indonesia too. Something similar can be done by Football clubs in India, which can boost Esport ecosystem in India.
The gaming nationals in 2021 were held fully online, in accordance with the rest of the world’s inclination for online mode. Despite his remarkable climb in the gaming world, Kommu remains committed to finishing his study and finding work in his profession of aerodynamics and propulsion. But, given that Kommu doesn’t practise expressly for any competition, it wouldn’t be surprising if he finishes first again next year as a working professional.
Kommu will now compete for the global title in Eilat, Israel in November.