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An interview with ShazZ - a local Gamer Girl Champion

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Going with our Friday theme, we're celebrating individuals who have risen above the rest to take competitive gaming to the next level. An event which may have flown under the radar for some, were the Copenhagen Games which took place two weekends ago. The tournament saw some of the world's best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams facing off in a men's and women's category.

South Africa had it's own representation in the form of Sharon "ShazZ" Waison who joined an American team, Team Karma, who went on to win the women's Grand Final. Being part of the winning team was only half the story for ShazZ. The local Counter-Strike veteran, who puts most competitive players to shame, out performed some of the most well known players, earning our vote as MVP. For those who are unfamiliar with ShazZ in the competitive gaming scene, the best way to describe her is as an outlier proving gender means nothing when it comes to hard work and determination.

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ShazZ (Far left) lifts her winning cheque at the Copenhagen Games after their victory in the Grand Final.

MWEB GameZone sat down with ShazZ to get an inside into what it takes to be a champion.

How did you get involved with Team Karma?

Well, it all started with Thulani "LighterTZ" Sishi. He told Emma "Emuhleet" Lee  about me, and I played a few games with her and she really liked me and wanted to give me a shot which she did. I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I was given.

Assuming there are more talented gamers like you out there, do you think professional teams need to stretch their reach a bit more, or should gamers be actively looking for such opportunities?

I think it's hard for South African gamers to get into the international competitive scene, especially for guys because there is so much competition. There's the language barrier which is a huge problem unless you get an opportunity to play for an American team, but there are only a hand full of them. But yes I wish professional teams would stretch their reach out more as I think that there are really talented players in South Africa that also need that one shot and they could make magic happen.

What was the preparation like for the Copenhagen Games? Did you bootcamp prior to the tournament with Team Karma? From your performance it looked like you gelled as a team.

To be honest, we actually hardly practiced, or when we did we never had a practise with the core five. It would always be four of us, or maybe just Em and I going through maps. It was difficult due to the time difference so we only practiced on weekends - I would get up at 5 every morning or Em waking up early and visa versa. I gelled really well with the team as they are all such amazing people - so welcoming and friendly, love you ladies! I think that also made us gel well in game in such a short period of time.

You faced some of the top female teams at the Copenhagen Games. Which team, if any, were your biggest concerns going in to the tournament?

I had my concerns with every team, but my biggest concern was BMG as they are the Number 1 female team in the world. I was playing in a completely new scene, I didn't know the play style, I didn't even know how each girl played, so I had to play one game at a time and adapt.

The big question: It's no secret that you're more talented than a large majority of male CS:GO players in South Africa. Do you feel woman and men should have separate tournaments?

Yes and no for me. I just think that the female scene is a lot weaker than the male scene at the moment and that if us females take on the big teams like NiP or Virtus Pro we will get "rekt!" But, if we had to keep playing against them it would only make female players better and we'd then be able to play with the best in the world!

Now that you're back in South Africa, what do you have planned next?

Well, the next step is to get my American Visa as I am planning on moving to the States to further my career in gaming.

Lastly, what words of wisdom can you give gamers in general who aspire to take part on the world stage?

Never give up! Never back down! haha, just kidding. umm... Keep at it - if its your dream, never give up. It could always become a reality!

I just wanna say thank you to everyone who supported me and watched all my games at Copenhagen Games, much love for you all

MWEB GameZone would like to wish Sharon all the best in her future endeavors. We have no doubt she will make us proud, and create a platform for future rising stars to build on.

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd  

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