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Olympics unlikely to be bridge too far for eSports if the money is right | Andy Bull


Distinctions between sports and games seem less important than the money that can be made from them, as one billionaire bridge ace proved by getting cards into the Asian Games

The richest sportsman on the planet isn’t Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James, Lionel Messi or Roger Federer, but Michael Bambang Hartono, a 78-year-old from the small town of Kudus, in Central Java, Indonesia. His jab’s weak, he surely can’t dunk, and his backhand likely sucks, but he’s a crack lobbyist and he plays a mean hand of bridge. These two talents go together. In 2016, after years of effort, Hartono persuaded the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to include bridge as a competitive event at the 2018 Asian Games. Last month, he took part in the contest himself, as a member of Indonesia’s supermixed team, and won a bronze medal.

Related: Not the real deal: EU court rejects claim that bridge is a sport

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