Bexhill gamer wins $100K at European championships

Team Dignitas' Thomas Cailleux, Josh Bennett, J�r�me Trinh, James Baker and Jonathan Gunnarsson on stage after winning the Heroes of the Storm European championships in Poland

Team Dignitas' Thomas Cailleux, Josh Bennett, J�r�me Trinh, James Baker and Jonathan Gunnarsson on stage after winning the Heroes of the Storm European championships in Poland

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A computer gamer from Bexhill was part of the European championship-winning team taking home $100,000 on Sunday (March 6).

Josh Bennett’s Team Dignitas won the Europe Spring Regionals for the computer game Heroes of the Storm in Katowice, Poland.

Team Dignitas' Jonathan Gunnarsson, Josh Bennett, James Baker, J�r�me Trinh and Thomas Cailleux with their trophy

Team Dignitas' Jonathan Gunnarsson, Josh Bennett, James Baker, J�r�me Trinh and Thomas Cailleux with their trophy

The five-man team – featuring another Brit, two Frenchmen and a Swede – also won automatic qualification for the world finals in Seoul, South Korea, next month.

The 19-year-old, of Kite’s Nest Walk, was thrilled to have won after coming so close in previous tournaments.

“It was amazing to come from second-place last year and then second at the worlds but now we’ve actually won it which is incredible,” he said.

Thousands of people watched as Team Dignitas – Josh, Jonathan Gunnarsson, James Baker, Jérôme Trinh and Thomas Cailleux – beat some of the continent’s best gamers to claim the Heroes European title.

The game pits five versus five teams against each other using fantasy characters from the Blizzard Entertainment franchise, including World of Warcraft and Diablo.

In the final, Dignitas defeated mYinsanity in three games after winning their group and semi-final to earn the $100,000 prize.

Josh said the team’s success was down to their attitude and team spirit honed from spending a week ‘training’ together in Sweden beforehand.

“I think it’s just that everyone’s dedicated to winning. It’s the first team where everyone wants to give 100 per cent to win and we are all focused on being the best we can be,” he said.

Josh, or Snitch, is a recent addition to the team managed by Michael O’Dell who was very impressed with the Bexhillian’s performance in Poland.

“It’s pretty amazing how fast Josh came through the ranks after being scouted last summer and joining the competition team in October,” he said.

“He’s got a really good desire the win and has exactly what it takes to win too.

“It takes a lot to do it as it’s not like sitting in your bedroom as there are thousands of people there watching you.”

The game is a full-time job for Josh who said he has had to sacrifice some of his social and family life for the game.

“I have to treat it like a job and put the eight hours in a day because if I don’t then there will be someone somewhere else who does and when I come up against them I will lose,” he said.

However Josh said it is a dream to be earning substantial sums of money for playing your favourite video game.

The teenager has won many supporters after having only played Heroes for 18 months.

“I just started playing the game a year and a half ago and got really good fairly quickly,” he said.

“I had been going from team to team until I found Dignitas around August time.”

Josh is now used to playing in front of a crowd and does not tend to get nervous anymore, but still cannot believe the kind of fan’s support they receive.

“In the first five minutes your panicking but then you calm down and focus on the game and forget about the crowd.

“But having so many fans supporting you is mad and people came up to me afterwards saying, ‘I want to be like you,’ it’s crazy.”

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