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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Vie for Cyber Olympic Spots

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Computer buffs worldwide are flexing their fingers for the World Cyber Games, and Russia's contenders are to battle this summer for a trip to South Korea and the chance to bring home the gold.

The WCG's Russian-qualifying phase is to be held from August through October, and $50,000 is to be awarded to nine winners — the top three finishers in three games — said Won Suk Oh, vice president of WCG.

The winners will travel to Seoul in December for the finals, where 30 countries will compete for $300,000 in prizes. "I can't guess about the size of future prizes. In 2005, the World Cyber Games will become a real Olympics," said Won.

The Games were established in 2000 with the help of Samsung Electronics. The first tournament was held that year with 17 countries competing for prizes totaling $200,000.

The Games are backed by the Korean Olympic Committee, and the WCG emblem resembles the Olympic symbol — three overlapping rings in red, green and blue.

Russia recognized computer games as an official sport in March 2000, when the Russian Federation of Computer Sport, or RFKS, was registered. The RFKS is backed by the State Committee for Physical Education, Sport and Tourism.

With RFKS sponsorship, Intel Corp. and Formoza founded the Pentium 4 Cup, which has received the status of an official competition. The first Pentium 4 Cup will be held in July and August in 10 cities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

The Games, however, have caused a row among Russian cybersportsmen. The RFKS refuses to cooperate with the WCG on account of the unresolved status of the Russian qualifying tournaments.

"If they organize a world championship, combined teams from national sports organizations should participate in it," said Konstantin Surkont, the general secretary of the RFKS.

"And now the WCG is independently forming its Russian team in violation of all the rules."

Surkont hopes in the future to reach an agreement with the WCG, which is looking to become the International Cyberolympic Committee.