One man is on a mission to bring competitive Pokemon battling to the Middle East.Like most, Khalid Abdullah got into the game in 1997 with the release of Pokemon Red, noting that everyone he knew had a Gameboy. And as time progressed, he joined the many around the world that never grew out of the game’s fandom.
With the release of Pokemon X & Y, he wanted to try his hand at the competitive scene but had no one to play against. As a resident of the United Arab Emirates, he found that there was a distinct lack of a competitive scene. Although, he would find a few opponents in the way of some friends in a Guild Wars 2 guild. They’d use online simulators to play single battles with rules, but it was another friend who introduced him to the VGC doubles format.
His journey then continued thanks to a friend in the UK, who was already a part of an established Competitive network who would allow him to battle him in practice for his own VGC competitions.
What followed was a massive Facebook group for competitive battling in the area, which then grew to in-person events at local card shops, with free entry and small prizes from the Pokemon Center as prizes.
He would then travel to regional competitions in Australia, which gained him confidence and a handy amount of the points needed to get to Worlds, bringing him to regional competitions in Milan and Copenhagen.
He would eventually end up at the North American Championships, needing to finish 64th or higher for a place at Worlds. He would finish in 74th but would show everyone that the players from his region can hang with the best.
He continues to build the scene in his region and has recently found an official tournament organizer in Dubai.
The original article from Kotaku includes quotes and a more in-depth look at his journey. It’s another look at how important Pokemon can be at bringing people together.
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TOP IMAGE: KHALID ABDULLAH WITH HIS FRIENDS AND FELLOW COMPETITORS. CREDIT KOTAKU