Kiara Nguyen sat down to tell Esports.gg all about her international win and what she wants to achieve next.
If you think you're a Pokémon legend, then you haven't met Kiara Nguyen yet. This 11-year-old just won the Oceania International Championship in the Pokémon Video Game Championship (VGC) tournament as the Junior Champion. She spoke with Esports.gg about what being the Pokémon VGC champion means to her.
Who is Kiara Nguyen?
Kiara Nguyen is now the international champion for the Oceania International Championship in her age division of juniors. She claimed the win in incredible style with a score of 3-1.
Nguyen also previously claimed a number of other achievements. She was the first girl to attend the 2022 Pokémon VGC Juniors Worlds as a finalist in the tournament.
Additionally, Nguyen claimed three regional titles at various championships and placed top four in European International Championships 2022. With an international crown now claimed, we spoke with Nguyen to ask her how she felt about her win and what's next for her.
Kiara Nguyen as the Pokémon VGC champion
Question: What do you love most about Pokémon?
Answer: I really love that I am able to play it with friends and get better each time, especially in Pokémon Violet. It has also been incredible to be able to travel because of Pokémon and visit new places. As well as create new memories with family and friends as I travel and compete.
Question: Having reached the finals in many of your tournaments, do you feel pressure to now always reach finals in tournaments?
Answer: There's always pressure to do well in every event, but the pressure to make finals comes with the competition. [But if I don't,] I'll work harder for the next tournament. There's always pressure, but as long as I practice hard and put effort into it, my parents are always proud of me.
Question: What has been your highlight in your career so far and what goals do you have for the future?
Answer: Obviously, my achievements such as making finals at world's and winning the OCIC are highlights, but being able to travel and share memories and laughs with my friends and family around the world are the true highlights of my career. My future goal is to win world's one day and to inspire more kids to play competitive Pokémon to experience what I've experienced.
Question: Have you ever felt disadvantaged being a girl in esports and what would your advice be for other girls wanting to compete?
Answer: There’s never been disadvantages to being a girl, but my age has caused some issues. I joined an online women's tournament and was accused of it not being me who played because I made the top cut for my age. Since then, I’ve proved them wrong by getting into most finals of every event I've played. But that was the lowest part of my career, making me want to quit, and I stopped playing for a while because of the accusations. I eventually gave it a go again after my supporters and family encouraged me to, and it's been amazing since.
Question: What got you started in playing professionally in Pokémon?
Answer: My mum met Chris G. and he took me to my first charity Pokémon VGC event at Be Games for the Starlight Tournament, where I won the event in junior division and got excited. I then went to my first Melbourne regionals and lost all [the] games, but that didn't stop me. As I went to the following Brisbane regionals in 2019 and won it, and I haven't stopped playing since. Competitive Pokémon has become a part of me.
Question: Are there any other games you would like to try?
Answer: Minecraft! It looks really cool to build anything in your own world and my friends play Minecraft a lot, so it would be fun to have another game to play with them!
Pokémon VGC and beyond
As part of our chat with Nguyen, we asked her if there was anything she wanted to tell the wider esports community and anyone she would like to publicly thank. Here's what she had to say.
“No matter what anyone says, if you love something as much as I love playing Pokémon VGC, then go for it," Nguyen said. "Hard work and all the time spent practicing and testing new ideas pays off in the end.
"With some determination, anything is possible. I'm so excited and the happiest I've ever been as I've made finals in every single event I've participated and played in since the COVID lockdowns opened up and it'll only get better from here.
"I want to thank my dad @infamouschris and best friend cocofordayz for all the love and support they have given me and my coach @joeux9 for all her Pokémon knowledge throughout the years. A huge thanks to @nontaro_vgc for coaching me all the way to the finals and winning this event making me the Pokémon Oceania International Champion in the junior division.
"The key to me winning is my Eevee. I’ve only lost one game and that's because I didn't have Eevee with me.”
Nguyen also said Eevee is her favorite of all the Pokémon characters, not only because she scales well, but also because she is cute and adorable with lots of fluff. She added that there is also no better reason to love Eevee than that.
Make sure to follow Kiara Nguyen on her Twitter to see where this up-and-coming talent goes next!
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