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Asus ROG Academy: Season 2 veteran Atharv 'Rio' Ahire shares his experience as an esports professional, and more

Atharv 'Rio' Ahire has seen an evident improvement in his performance since the conclusion of ROG Academy Season 2 in September 2021. Let's check his complete interview around his experience in the Indian esports industry here.

Taiwan-based PC hardware maker Asus has been hard at work, investing in nurturing the upcoming generation of esports players in India. As outlined in previous announcements, Asus is continuing with ROG Academy, an initiative to train and guide interested gamers. ROG Academy is currently in its fourth season with the aim to nurture a fresh batch of esports players for Valorant. The first season started with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive switching to Valorant from the second season onward.

There are two parts to any initiative like Asus ROG Academy. The first is the execution of the mentorship and training and the second is the success its graduating players achieve in the real world. One can only measure the success of ROG Academy through results in the esports industry. However, these results are primarily dependent on the esports players coming out of the program and their skills than Asus.

Regardless, the company and the program have a direct relation to the success of the graduating esports players. There are several factors that help us arrive at this conclusion. Some of the more notable ones include access to the top esports coaches, exchange of experience and the right connections in the community, and sponsorship circles.

Asus ROG Academy: The case of Atharv 'Rio' Ahire

Looking back at ROG Academy graduates from the first three seasons, we see some examples of success and growth. But there is no other striking example of nurturing esports athletes than the case of Atharv 'Rio' Ahire. His performance has seen an evident improvement since the conclusion of ROG Academy Season 2 in September 2021. He has topped a majority of the Valorant esports tournaments after Season 2 including The Esports Club Gauntlet Season 3, League Ego Challenger Series 2021, and Nvidia GeForce Festival.

As Rio continues to elevate his skills on the national and international level, we got a chance to speak to him via email. During this interaction, we spoke to him about his journey as an esports professional, the impact of ROG Academy, and more details around the program. Rio also shared his thoughts about the impact of COVID-19 on the Indian Esports industry while sharing some advice for upcoming esports professionals. Valorant and esports fans can read the complete interview below:

Q: How much has ROG Academy helped you in your professional esports career?

A: ROG Academy has made a huge impact on my life. It gave me the boost and motivation that I needed to realize my dream and transition it into a reality. ROG Academy guided me through one of the most important phases of my life and helped me move further towards the goal I had set my eyes on. It helped me identify the key areas I need to focus on to improve my performance. Aligned with the same, the ROG Academy coach worked with us tirelessly to help develop and enhance our skills, techniques, discipline, communication, and strategies amongst other things and helped us reach where we are today.

Asus ROG Academy Season 4

Q: How much change has ROG Academy brought to your life from before Season 2 started to now? Could you explain and describe these changes?

A: Being part of the ROG Academy was a great experience. Even though it lasted just for 3 months, the Academy has played a significant role when it comes to my growth. The coaching provided at the Academy equipped us for our future endeavors.

Q: What was the most important aspect of the ROG Academy Season 2 that has helped you in your journey as a professional esports athlete?

A: One of the most important aspects of the ROG academy has been the one-on-one feedback sessions with the coaches. It allowed us to discuss the progress achieved, identify key focus areas, and develop strategies for the road ahead. These sessions helped me improve my gameplay, which has made me a better player.

Q: Any advice that you may want to share with aspiring esports players across India?

A: The only advice I would like to share with aspiring esports players is that be open to reset your goals to keep improving and getting better at the game. For example, if your goal was to get into the top 8 in India and you meet the target, then reset your goal to get into the top 4. Keep going until the day you are the best. Consistent hard work is the key, there is no other shortcut.

Q: The Indian esports industry has seen a lot of changes, especially since the start of the pandemic. What aspect do you wish to further improve or change for the better in the industry?

A: The pandemic has led to an influx of e-sports enthusiasts in India. More and more men and women have taken to e-spots as a hobby and more so as passion. Therefore, we witnessed an upsurge in the sales of customized PCs, laptops, etc. as people entered the competitive arena of e-sports. I am optimistic that the next generation of gamers will lead us in the right direction and further strengthen the esports ecosystem of India.

Editors Note: The interview took place over email and the text has been lightly edited for clarity.