…As 264 Players From 27 States Ready To Show Their Word Strength
Twenty seven States have entered for the scrabble event of the 21st National Sports Festival tagged Delta 2022 which enters Day 3 on Friday in Asaba, the capital of Delta State.
This figure is four states more than what was registered at the last Festival in Benin City, Edo State.
The President of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF), Engineer Toke Aka who spoke to News Channel FIRST ZEALMEDIACAST BLOG, the increase is a positive news for the game of words in Nigeria.
“At the last Sports Festival we had twenty three States in attendance but now we have twenty seven States, that’s a big lift and we will continue to develop the sport till all the thirty six States and Abuja makes Scrabble a must for any national competition.” The NSF President said.
Sixteen gold medals are up for grab in the four categories to be competed for at the Festival. Masters, Intermediate, Opens and Female are the events.
The Masters’ rating catchment points is 1400 and above, Intermediate is 1100 to 1399 while Opens is 0-1099 catchment points.
In each category, there are four events, singles, doubles and Team event.
Singles starts Friday and ends Saturday, doubles begins Saturday afternoon and ends on Sunday while the team event takes centre stage on Monday and it’s expected to be concluded on Tuesday.
We understand that the Masters event will be an 18 rounds of games, 1 random pairing, 13 lagged and 4 king of the hill pairings. The three other categories will have 1 random pairing, 13 lagged and 3 king of the hill pairings.
It promises to fire works from start to finish in all the events as all the finest players in Nigeria have converge in Asaba.
The headline wordsmith in the Delta State capital is led by current African Champion Enoch Tochukwu Nwali who is at the Festival in the colours of Lagos State.
Other former African Champions, West African Champion and former World Champion Wellington Jighere who turn 40 on Wednesday are all in Asaba which is a familiar ground for these scrabble Super Stars.
The President of Nigeria Scrabble Federation NSF Engineer Toke stated host Delta, Edo, Lagos and Bayelsa are the states to watch out for while Ogun, Rivers, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo and Akwa Ibom are dark horses to look out for because they are all loaded with exciting young talents and game changers.
Lagos State Scrabble and Monopoly Association (LSSMA), Chairman Engineer Dipo Akanbi is working round the clock to get his team fully ready a focused for the Festival.
The players from Lagos are staying in one of the top hotels in Asaba. This Engineer Akanbi explained, “it will keep the players focus for the task ahead.”
In a similar move, the Ogun State Scrabble Association (OSSA), has promised to give a special reward package to all the players who shine in Asaba.
Adekoyejo Adegbesan, OSSA Chairman told FIRST ZEALMEDIACAST BLOG that, 12 players will be flying Ogun State Scrabble flag and a unique atire has been made for them. The team had over two weeks camping program ahead of the Festival.
The female event can be tagged a rematch of the Lusaka battle among the hottest Amazons in the game. Touye Mayuku, Bukunmi Afolayan and Chiamaka Gabriel.
This trio are Africa’s female beacons of the game of Scrabble, it was One, Two, Three finish for them in Lusaka with Mayuku picking the top honour at the expense of Afolayan and Gabriel.
Touye Mayuku won 16 and drew one game while Bukunmi Afolayan and Chiamaka Gabriel won 16 games too but Afolayan who will be competing in the colours of Ogun State had a better cumulative points than Gabriel.
The Head coach of Delta State Scrabble Team, Dennis Ikekeregor is confident that,they will hit the ground running at home when the first round of games are called on Friday.
“Since I became the head Coach, Delta State has dominated the scrabble event at the Festival and the story will not be different this time around.” The former African Champion stated.
He went on to stress that, the quality of Scrabble Team Delta will be too hot to handle when the event start in Friday, that’s today.
The team has in it’s fold former World and former double African Champion, Wellington Jighere, West Africa Champion, Eta Paul Karo and multiple national title winner and Team Nigeria’s captain Oshevire Avwengha as well as Africa’s most celebrated amazon Touye Mayuku.
Key members of Scrabble Team Delta at a glance: Wellington Jighere, Eta Paul Karo, Oshevire Avwengha, Touye Mayuku.
Meanwhile, the captain of Rivers Scrabble team to the Festival, Nsikak Solomon Etim, says they’re in Asaba to win and not to add to the numbers.
“Rivers State is the defending champion in both the Masters event and the men’s doubles at the last Festival in Edo State and we are going to repeat it in Asaba, we shall also add the team event to our collections.” Etim stated.
Sunday Oshodi, Raymond Gbaraba are the other members of Rivers Scrabble team. “ With God on our side,we shall over come.” Etim said.
The President of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF), Engineer Toke Aka, the Technical Director, John Curtis and national team coach, Sir Prince Anthony Ikolo were at the multi purpose hall of the Stephen Keshi stadium on Thursday as late as 7pm to finalize the details of the draws and get the hall ready for the start of the Scrabble event of the 21st National Sports Festival.