Lone female Counter-Strike pro in Korea hopes to start a trend

A new rising star in the potentially growing Counter Strike: Global Offensive scene in South Korea has made quite a name for herself as the only female player in a pool of about 50 in Korea’s first CS:GO league, VSL CS:GO Korea Beginning.

Her name is Park “Luminous” Hee-Eun, and she said that she decided to compete in hopes that more women gamers will join her in the land of professionals, writes Daily eSports’ Lee Si-Woo.

“When my teammates asked if I wanted to compete with them, I had a thought,” she told Daily eSports. “If I could increase the number of potential female competitors by competing myself, that would be great. Right now, I have the spotlight as the sole female player, but I really hope more female professionals get involved.”

Even though the VSL was streamed only on Twitch, Luminous was aware and nervous about any negative attention she might receive as the only women professional player. But, she said, she curbed the problem by simply not reading them.

“I do care about how the people around might look at me,” she said. “But I wanted to compete even more. When I look at the VODs, I don’t look at the chat and only at the game in order to learn. It’s still something that’s on my mind.”

It’s no longer rare to find women interested in gaming. Online video games have become one of the most popular pastimes of this generation, and many women have shown talent and skill in their game of choice. But we seldom see talented women make it to the professional level in America, and the same can be said in South Korea as well. With recent controversy surrounding another female star Overwatch player Kim “Geguri” Sae-Yeon being so good at the game she was accused of cheating by other professional players, it’s not difficult to imagine why.

Luminous said that her first experience on stage has given her the confidence not only for the games during the VSL, but also for future events she might find herself competing in.

“I was naturally nervous since it was my first competition, but as I scored kills I got my confidence,” she said. “I thought that everyone’s the same here and that I can do something just as much as someone else.”

Despite her confidence, team Nomad couldn’t make it to the semifinals with a record of 1-3. But Luminous said that it was “natural” that her team struggled in the earlier stages of the league due to a very small amount of practice they could have, and she expressed an interest to compete again in top form.

“Of course I’d love to be a professional gamer,” she said. “I want to do better than I am right now, and I want to be good enough that I’m not a burden to the team. You don’t know what’s in store, but I think an opportunity will come. If it does, I want to work to grasp that opportunity.”

Ultimately she wanted to thank her team for their relentless support and giving her the chance to perform in a large competition, setting up the stage for even more like her to rise to the challenge.

“The team accepted me not as a woman, but as a player,” she said. “I’m always thankful of that. It’s my hope that more female players become accepted as professionals and one day be competitive like some teams overseas.”

Cover photo: James Cao (flickr)

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