Sylvia Gathoni Wahome, better known as QueenArrow, is a professional esports player and content creator from Nairobi, Kenya. The 24-year-old Tekken and Mortal Kombat specialist was one of the speakers at the Commonwealth Esports Forum. The first woman from East Africa to be signed by a professional esports team, she has recently been named in the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2022.
How did you feel being part of the Commonwealth Esports Forum?
I was a little nervous, but I really enjoyed sharing my insights, especially as a young thought leader from Africa. I wanted to tell people that there are so many prospects that are open to us if we are given the opportunities. I also wanted to communicate that Africa is equal. You can’t discuss the Global Esports Federation or #worldconnected without talking about Africa.
As a top professional, what have you made of the players here?
I am so impressed by them. It takes a lot of courage to come here from their countries, to compete with so many other people. The whole point is that you take the experience back with you, and tell people what you’ve learned and what we can do better as a community to become stronger and better. I also wanted to bring up the message that young people are the future of this industry. The industry needs to be community-driven.
You’re already a bit of a legend at 24. How can some of these young players become the next QueenArrow?
I’d say you need to believe in your body of work, and what you have to bring to the table. Believe in what you have to offer, and that you are as valid and equal as everyone else. And remember that the whole point of esports is that it is supposed to be fun. My journey started in 2017, I started competing because it was enjoyable. Before it can be a career, it must be fun.
What has been the secret of your rise?
I was playing Tekken 7 and I was a nobody, learning at the highest level, what frame data is and what other things entailed. I was given the opportunity by an American organization, and since then many people have contributed to who I am, helping me learn and grow as a person and as a peer. It is only just beginning, and I’ve grown with it.
Why did you choose Tekken, and do all esports appeal to different personalities?
I love Tekken because it challenges you to keep practicing each day. You need to be hungry to keep learning, you have to keep challenging yourself to grow as a player. All games are different. It is just like regular sports, some esports don’t suit me. Each esports has something to offer. I’d love to play Dota professionally but I just don’t have that skill set, so you chose the game that works for you. For Dota there is a lot of teamwork and strategy. You have to have team chemistry and work out the other team’s chemistry. Tekken is one-on-one and you have to study your opponent. You need lots of overall character knowledge.
How would you sum up your trip?
Birmingham is a fantastic city. I love the energy in the place, and I’d love to come back one day.
Source: Global Esports Federation