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An Australian teenager has won almost $5 million by taking out the richest eSports prize two years in a row

Oliver Caffrey, August 26, 2019 6:45PM Herald Sun

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Players of team OG compete during their Dota 2 eSports Best of 5 final match against team Liquid at the International Dota 2 Championships in Shanghai on August 25, 2019. Picture: AFP media_cameraPlayers of team OG compete during their Dota 2 eSports Best of 5 final match against team Liquid at the International Dota 2 Championships in Shanghai on August 25, 2019. Picture: AFP

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An Australian teenage eSports star has collected more money in a week than the highest-paid AFL players earn over multiple years.

Anathan ‘ana’ Pham, 19, claimed a whopping $4.62 million by taking out the world’s richest eSports prize for the second year in a row.

The Victorian teenager from Wheelers Hill helped his team, OG, create history to become the first group to win the Dota 2 world championships, The International, twice.

This latest prizemoney alone makes Pham Australia’s 13th highest-earning sportsperson, going by the Financial Review’s latest sports rich list.

Anathan Pham during Dota 2’s The International. Picture: Twitter media_cameraAnathan Pham during Dota 2’s The International. Picture: Twitter

The stunning win places Pham above household names such as tennis player Nick Kyrgios, basketballer Thon Maker, soccer ace Aaron Mooy and cricket’s fast bowler Pat Cummins.

Only a select number of AFL players, including Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin and Sydney legend Lance Franklin, bring home more than $1 million a season.

AFL Rd 23 - Richmond v Brisbane media_cameraDustin Martin of the Tigers fends off Alex Witherden of the Lions at the MCG on August 25. Dustin Martin is one of only a few AFL players who earn more than $1 million a year. Picture: Getty Images

Pham shot to stardom last year when he played a starring role in OG’s breakthrough win in Canada, winning more than $3 million alone as he was named the most valuable player.

But Pham and OG showed that success was no fluke*, winning the tournament again by defeating 2017 champions Team Liquid during a best-of-five grand final in China.

His OG teammates include a Finnish pair, a French man and an experienced Danish player.

Pham, second from left, with and his OG teammates. Picture: Twitter media_cameraPham, second from left, with his OG teammates. Picture: Twitter

The overall main first prize was about $23 million, with the team to split the winnings five ways.

Dota 2 is a five-on-five strategy game where teams play on a virtual battlefield, attempting to kill the opposing players and destroy their base.

The strategy-based game requires an immense* amount of practice and skill, with top players training all-year round to compete with the best.

Incredibly, Pham took an extended break from OG in November to focus on other interests, but returned to the team in time to prepare for a shot at back-to-back success.

Pham doesn’t turn 20 until October, but has already won close to $9 million during his career.

Bigger than the Super Bowl — The eSports Explosion


  • fluke: completely to do with luck
  • immense: big


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  1. What is the winners’ team name?
  2. He now earns more than some top sports stars. Give two examples.
  3. Are all his teammates Australian? Where are they from?
  4. How many players are on a team for Dota 2?
  5. How old is Anathan now and when is his birthday?


1. Train the champion!
Imagine you are Anathan Pham’s gaming coach. Create a program for training for the next big event. Your program should include a timetable of different things that you think he needs to practice, skills he needs to develop, physical things that he will need to do well (or stop injuries) and, like any top athlete, an eating plan that keeps him going. The program should be for one week.

Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
New sports can get the chance to be included in the Olympics. Do you think that eSports should be part of the next Olympics? Write a letter to the International Olympic Committee explaining why or why not.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education

Interview with a millionaire
Anathan is a sports star of a different kind: a video game sports star.

But the article doesn’t talk to Anathan about how he is thinking or feeling, or any tips and tricks he might have.

Come up with 10 questions you would ask Anathan if you got to interview him. Don’t forget to try and vary your question stems (question starters) to ask questions in a different way. This can sometimes ask for more information without being too direct.

HAVE YOUR SAY: If you could be world champion at anything, what would you choose?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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