An Australian teenager has become one of the nation’s highest paid sports stars after winning $3 million from just one e-sports tournament.
Melbourne’s Anathan Pham collected more than $3 million for playing a major role in winning the richest ever e-sports team event.
The 18-year-old came home from The International Dota 2 Championships in Canada with more money than the best AFL players earn in a year, as his five-man team split the staggering main prize of $15.3 million between them.
His takings from this tournament alone would have placed him 19th for Australia’s top-earning individual sportspeople last year, even above soccer heroes Aaron Mooy and Tim Cahill, as well as Wallabies rugby star Israel Folau.
Pham’s team, named OG, defeated their more-fancied opponents PSG.LGD 3-2 in a best-of-five grand final series in front of a huge crowd at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Sunday.
His teammates include a Finnish pair, a French man and a Danish veteran.
Pham’s big win takes his career earnings to $3.8 million after he moved from Victoria to China in 2016 as a 16-year-old to chase his e-sports dreams.
Dota 2 is a five-on-five strategy game where teams play on a virtual battlefield, attempting to kill the opposing players and destroy their base.
Australian e-sports commentator David Parker, who goes by ‘Godz’ in the gaming world, said winning The International is Dota 2 is equivalent to the Super Bowl.
“Ana’s victory legitimises all the years he poured himself into training and improving at the game,” Parker said.
“It also shows other Aussies that there is a career in gaming for the top players.
“It’s a huge step for making professional gaming more accepted in Australian society.
“Monetary gains aside, this tournament is about naming a champion and Ana was instrumental in OG becoming the best team in the world.”