WATCH: Our 14-year-old eSports correspondent speaks to SA’s Tekken champion
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Dyaab Ryklief from Cape Town Youth Gaming spoke to Ighsaan 'Iggy' Latief, South Africa's best Tekken player, about his journey to the top spot.
Iggy hails from the dusty streets of Heideveld, Cape Town, where he honed his fighting skills at the game shop down the road from his home on the legendary King of Fighters arcade game.
He joyfully recalls many afternoons as a kid, rushing home from school to drop off his schoolbag before making his way to the shop looking forward to a new challenger. And, when he was not making his mark there, he was at home playing Tekken 3 with his four brothers.
Much later, once he had an internet connection, he delved into the online gaming space and went into a lobby where he fought a player by the name of "Angry Magine", who introduced him to various tournaments.
At his first-ever tournament he placed fourth out of 30 participants. He followed that by winning the Sneaker Exchange tournament hosted by the Ultimate Gaming Championships (UGC).
"While playing with my brothers it just meant more to me... while they were trying to have fun, I was ruining it," jokes Iggy.
"I just did more research than them, I played more, so playing Tekken was just different for me," he said.
Currently in his third year of competitive gaming, the SA Tekken champion admits that he is not the most athletic person, but that he had tried his hand at karate when he was younger and that martial arts can give you an edge when fighting in video games.
Iggy added that the journey to the top was not as simple as turning on the console every day, but that he continuously needed to challenge himself as much as he could.
"After that first tournament I realised that other people were also doing this and it blew my mind," said Iggy.
"Since then I've gone to as many sessions as I could, I even hosted sessions and had people over just to play the game offline," he said.
In December last year, Iggy was crowned the country's best Tekken 7 player after winning the Red Bull Hit the Streets competition which led to him being snatched up by one of South Africa's premier eSports teams, Bravado Gaming. Iggy will next get to showcase his talents against some of the best players in the world at the Red Bull Kumite international competition.
Meanwhile, he has not forgotten about the community that raised him and started a crew of his own called Blue Spark Rogues through which he encourages youth interested in the gaming scene and helps groom the next generation of fight gamers.
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