Meet Pakistani gamer Arslan Ash, the best Tekken player in the world

The gamer made history by becoming the first Pakistani to win the biggest esports tournament of the year for Tekken.
Updated 24 Dec, 2019

We love it when Pakistanis get represented on a global scale and we now have someone bearing our flag in the gaming world.

Pro gamer Arslan Siddique has been in the Fighting Game Community (FGC) for quite some time now but only got the spotlight he deserves this year, when he became the first unified champion of EVO, known as the biggest fighting game tournament of the year.

A Tekken player, 23-year-old Siddique — known as Arslan Ash in the FGC — not only won the second EVO Japan in February but also EVO itself. Represent!

Being a fan of the FGC myself, I didn't miss the chance to get in touch with Arslan and get to know more about him.

Said an excited Arslan, "Winning EVO Japan and EVO USA is not that easy, so I've made history in this regard. Thanks to my mother's prayers, I'm the first person and Pakistani who has made history by winning both the EVOs and I'm very thankful to God."

Tekken players are predominantly South Korean. Arslan won EVO 2019 by defeating one of South Korea's best, a player who goes by the moniker, Knee. But Arslan's interest in Tekken didn't start from a drive to be a pro player. It was more about wanting to be the best at it for himself.

"When I was much younger, there was a gaming zone in front of my house and I used to go there. I was always interested in Tekken and a lot of older men used to play the game. I just wanted to defeat them and that's how I got into it. With time, I got used to playing it and mastered it. "

"When I started Tekken 6 10 years ago, I was already really good within Pakistan and won many games. Back then, I was in school and didn't really have the mindset that, 'Yeah, I should go abroad as well.' A year ago, I thought, why shouldn't I go and take the chance?"

As a young Pakistani who ventured far away from the usual paths of doctor or engineer, Arslan's story can resonate with many as he revealed the journey that took him to pro gaming — and how his parents handled the news.

"Initially, my family knew I won tournaments but were still interested in me completing [chartered accounting]. I did get on that, but the first time I told my parents that I wanted to pursue gaming internationally, their reaction was quite bad. You know how typical Pakistani families think, they said that it has no scope and my mother didn't let me go."

He went on, "I told them to give me one chance at least, and If I fail, then I would try what they wanted for me. They gave me one chance, and then I did very well in it and won money as well. After that, my career started and now my family is happy too."

"The main motive in life is to start earning money, right? At least, that's what people expect you to do. So if there's money coming in and the family's proud as well, then everyone's happy."

He added, "My mother was really happy. We were able to pay for my sister's wedding as well after winning one tournament in Japan."

Arslan may have gotten support from his parents, but it was also Street Fighter pro player Sherry Nhan — known as SherryJenix — who helped him get to EVO.

"Sherry has a programme called E5, in which she helps deserving people apply for their US visa, and those who have a difficult passport such as mine because most of the tournaments take place in the USA. She helps pay for the visa, guides us in filling our visas and is also the sponsor contact vouching for us."

Being a follower of the FGC myself — can never resist a good Street Fighter V match — I couldn't resist asking Arslan a few general questions about himself and fighting games.

Arslan's main in Tekken 7 is Kazumi, with whom he won EVO as well. Explaining why she is his main, Arslan said, "Kazumi is a simple yet effective character. Her normals are really good and less risky overall."

Who does Arslan look up to in the FGC? "Misterio, who is a player of King of Fighters. He is definitely someone I look up to and he has to be my idol."

Does that mean KoF is Arslan's second choice for gaming?

"If I weren't playing Tekken 7, I'd definitely be playing either King of Fighters or *Street Fighter."

Many pro players partake in meditation and even tae kwon do to be prepped for a match. What is Arslan's routine?

"Before my matches, I always pray namaz once and just hope everything works out for me. It helps my mind relax and concentrate as well."

"As a Pakistani, I definitely feel very proud to be representing the South Asian community because now a lot of international sponsors are interested in Pakistan. Recently, even Japanese people came to Pakistan to meet and play with me."

We remember this as Arslan not only gamed with these players but introduced them to our street food as well. Now that's what we call cross culture exchange!

Arslan is currently playing under UAE team vSlash but hopes to see more Pakistanis take up careers in gaming and believes that because of his win, "a lot of people will come and see how good the Pakistani players are and they will get more opportunities."


Pak uk Aug 14, 2019 03:06pm
Proud of you mate.. keep rocking.
Safwan Aug 14, 2019 03:27pm
This guy is already a legend.
Fastrack Aug 14, 2019 03:43pm
Looks like a champ. Pakistan rocks.
Khan Aug 14, 2019 03:59pm
Keep it up
M. Abdul Aug 14, 2019 04:02pm
Good job good man, very proud of you!
Imtiaz ALI kHAN Aug 14, 2019 04:22pm
Good Job Arsalan! Straight Champion brother. Shabash
KK Aug 14, 2019 05:31pm
Wow! Congrats to Arslan. Taking an unconventional path in our( Indian/Pakistani) society isn't easy... You did it and did it well! Wishing you luck for any upcoming events as well.
Bilal Sarfraz Aug 14, 2019 05:59pm
Proud of Pakistan, Well Done Arsalan. I have also watched ur youtube videos. A Tip: Try to remove them so that other's don' know about ur gaming strategy. You should be a surprise.
HAYYAN Aug 14, 2019 06:27pm
A True Indian Aug 14, 2019 08:34pm
Bravo - Way to go - Congrats from India
FAROQ SHAIKH Aug 15, 2019 02:45am
Man that’s really cool
Abs uk Aug 15, 2019 04:22am
Keep making us proud, well done bro.
A Pakistani Aug 15, 2019 08:08am
Good on you for representing Pakistan on a global scale. Also thanks DAWN Images for bringing this to light.
Muhtasim afridi Aug 15, 2019 08:21am
Love you brother... Keep moving, universe has no end..
Gautam Aug 15, 2019 08:54am
Well done young man. This is what we like to hear from Pakistan.
Aslam cheema Aug 15, 2019 12:05pm
Keep it up man, good job. You made us again proud to be Pakistani.
Hammad Nisar Aug 15, 2019 01:25pm
good to hear Pakistan name on the top..... Good luck brother