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Counter-Strike pro who was caught cheating mid-tournament given five-year ban

"Nothing good has happened to me since the day I started playing this game."

The Counter-Strike pro who was caught cheating during a tournament has been banned from all esports for five years.

Nikhil "Forsaken" Kumawat was given the lengthy ban by the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) after he was found using cheats during the recent Zowie eXtemesland tournament LAN finals in Shanghai.

In a video that went viral last week, Kumawat was seen trying to close the window in which the cheat file was housed as a tournament organiser checked his PC.

The ESIC said the evidence against Kumawat, who played for Optic India in the ESL India Premiership, was overwhelming.

"The same cheats used at eXremesland was found on his SSD card from the Premiership and match analysis shows numerous examples of the cheats being used," ESIC said.

"No cheats were found on the other Optic India players' SSDs."

Some had called for Kumawat to receive a lifetime ban, but ESIC said it considered this case his first offence despite a prior ban that had been reduced.

"We are conscious that many in the CS:GO community will disagree with this and we understand their feelings, but do not agree and feel that sanctions in esports ought to reflect what is accepted practice in traditional sports as our industry professionalises," the organisation continued.

In an email interview with AFK Gaming, Kumawat expressed regret for his actions, saying: "Nothing good has happened to me since the day I started playing this game."

"There was no pressure from anywhere, it was all me who wanted to win every game, wanted to be perfect in every aspect of the game," he said.

"I was confident in my decisions, I was confident in understanding of the game etc but was never confident in my aim so to compensate that lack of confidence in aim I had to choose the wrong path."

Kumawat also offered his version of events in describing what happened when the tournament admin inspected his PC during the tournament.

"I never resisted when admin came to investigate my PC, however when admin opened the file window I tried to close the file. It also was a virus file for Windows Defender so when admin opened the folder in which the file was stored it was deleted automatically because of a virus threat.

"Admin came up to the stage asking they wanted to check my PC, I backed away n [sic] let admin check it, admin then alt-tabbed my game n [sic] was going through all the opened windows in my pc untill finally he opened the cheat window so I got scared and tried to close the window, It was captured on the video n [sic] was portrayed as if I tried to delete the fles [sic]."

While Kumawat has not suffered a lifetime ban, it's hard to see how he can resurrect his professional gaming career. Has had already been booted off his esports team when he deleted his social media accounts, and has now gone off the radar, with the ESIC saying Kumawat failed to respond to repeated attempts to contact him (Kumawat has also so far failed to respond to requests for comment from Eurogamer).

When asked if he would do things differently, he told AFK Gaming:

"I would probably delete the day when I first played Counter-Strike on. Nothing good has happened to me since the day I started playing this game. I thought this game was for me but since last almost one year I have not been loyal to it. I worked hard but I wasn't loyal. I gave everything away for the game, I always put this game above everything else and today I realize what I have lost. One thing I always put everything above on and I cheated it. I lost everything when put CS above everything n [sic] today I lost CS too. The only thing I never lost is my family and my girlfriend and I hope to never cheat on them."

Integrity Commissioner, Ian Smith did not pull any punches in his assessment of the situation:

"It is always desperately sad when something like this happens in esports, but this case is particularly disappointing as we have previously shown compassion and consideration for Kumawat in our prior dealings with him," he said.

"Additionally, he has caused great damage to Indian CS:GO and esports and devalued an excellent competition. There is no place in esports for cheats like Kumawat and, at a personal level, I hope we never see him back in CS:GO or any other game again."

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