FAV’s Naoto Sako proved that age doesn’t determine skill when it comes to competitive gaming.
TWFighter Major is a Premier event in the Capcom Pro Tour, where Street Fighter V players go head to head to earn points for a chance at claiming the title of Capcom Cup Champion.
Taiwan’s Premier tournament saw some of the game’s best talent, including current Capcom Cup champion MenaRD, former Evolution champion Tokido, and Street Fighter legend Daigo “The Beast” Umehara.
39-year-old Naoto Sako was also one of these killers: Hailing from Japan, Sako is known for his skillful use of Menat, a character new to the Street Fighter universe who uses long-ranged normals and a powerful V-Trigger to zone out her opponents.
Sako’s skill has earned him top placements in a number of tournaments this season, including 4th place at CEO, 7th place at VSFighting, and a first-place win the Asia East One Online Event.
Sako wasn’t alone in his journey — he brought his wife and daughter with him, who stole the show with her adorable antics alongside Kenryo “Mago” Hayashi.
Sako’s family served as his strength throughout the tournament: Sako plowed through Winners’ side, taking out threats like Echo Fox’s Tokido and DNG’s Itabashi Zangief without losing a single match.
Sako’s efforts landed him in Grand Finals, where he faced Tokido once more, who he had previously sent to Losers’ side 2-0. With Tokido’s standing as a previous Evolution World Champion, as well as his many second place wins throughout the 2018 season, it seemed as though Tokido could possibly reset the bracket.
However, Sako took the set in a stunning 3-0 run, cementing his place as the TWFighter champion. Upon his victory, Sako went to sit with his family: his wife cried tears of joy while his daughter gave a beaming smile. He even brought her up to the stage during the awards ceremony, hoisting her up on his hip to let her hold his prize money and pose for photos.
Sako is one of many Street Fighter players who are up in years. Standing beside the likes of legendary fighters Alex Valle (40) and Daigo Umehara (37), Sako’s performance echoes that of many others, showcasing that age is no deterrent to competitive ability — and that balance can be found between raising a family and training for video game tournaments.