Nigeria has reclaimed the team title at the WESPAC World Scrabble Championship in Goa, India.
A team of eleven Scrabble players captained by the African Champion Moses Peter achieved the feat, edging out Malaysia with a mean total 22.36. Nigeria won 214 games, losing 142 over the 3-day event.
Reflecting on the victory, National Coach Tony Ikolo attributed victory to hard work and serious preparation by the team: “For the last few months we had been preparing for the Indian tournament. My players were remarkable sacrificing so much to ensure that we remain the world’s best.”
Meanwhile, Nigel Richards of New Zealand – the greatest Scrabble player of all time – won the singles title to become the world champion again beating Jesse Day of the United States 4-3 in the final match up.
Richards – a multiple world champion in both English and French lexicons – is also the holder of another Scrabble “major”, the coveted King’s Cup that was held in Bangkok, Thailand in July.
He is now the undisputed world champion having taken the two recognised world title events – the MSA World Scrabble Championship in England last year and now the World English Scrabble Players’ Association title.
Jesse Day had led 3-2 in the best of seven final but Richards won the last two games to take the title.
Nigel sealed the win in Goa with a “nine-timer” AVOIDERS that netted him 167 points and an unassailable lead.
Nigeria’s best performance came from 23-year-old Enoch Nwali who finished 5th overall. The other player in the top ten was Ben Quickpen.
The 2019 Asaph Zadok National Scrabble Championship ended at the weekend in Abuja and with Wellington Jighere of Delta State emerging the new champion.
Jighere shrugged off challenges from defending national champion Moses Peter of Akwa Ibom State and two time African champion Dennis Ikekeregor, also from Delta State who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
All three players recorded 19 wins from 24 games but Jighere edged them out on superior cumulative.
Expressing delight over his victory, the University of Benin graduate said he can now heave a sigh of relief winning the Championship that had long eluded him.
“I am delighted that the National Championship has finally been won by me. I was seen by some people as an outstanding international player who could not do same domestically. Now, my victory in the National Championship has finally changed that notion,” he remarked gleefully.
Jighere received a cash prize of N200,000 and was decorated with the traditional Green Jacket.
President of Nigeria Scrabble Federation, Gora Suleiman, said lack of fund almost made it impossible for the competition to hold. He however, expressed the hope that things would change for the better with the coming of the new Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare.
At the end of the championship, Delta State emerged top beating closest rivals Bayelsa and Oyo. A total of 44 players took part in the three-day event held at the VIP Lounge of the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja.