Olatunde Oduwole, yesterday, confirmed his status as Nigeria’s best scrabble player when he beat former world champion, Wellington Jeghire, in the final of the Champion of Champions tournament in Benin City, Edo State.
Oduwole won 2-1 to upset world No.4 Jighere, to claim the star prize of N500,000 and a giant trophy at the event held at the multi-purpose hall of Prestige Hotel.
Douglas Ese won the youth category at the three-day event, which had 44 players vying for honours. Speaking after his feat, Oduwole said, “it was a crunchy final but I had better tiles to decide the game. I was very lucky to have won.
“It is not easy playing against a world champion. We have met on different occasions and anybody who wins that decides the tournament.
“I could have lost today, but I won because I was destined to win and not because I did anything extraordinary.”
Speaking on the standard of competition, Nigeria Scrabble Federation President, Olabatoke Aka, said, “In the past, we had national champions and grandmasters, but the Champion of Champions is a variant.
“Previously, scrabble was not spectator-friendly but today, the game can now be viewed on our phones and TV. This event is very commendable.”
Aka, however, lamented the lack of corporate sponsorships for the sport, saying, “the only people who sponsor scrabble are those who love the sport, the players of the game. We need to go out to advertise the sport. We need to capitalise on this event and broaden our scope.”
Also speaking at the end of the event, Edo State Sports Commission chairman, Godwin Dudu-Orumen, a special guest on the final day of the competition, said, “We are proud of the Champion of Champions competition.
“Scrabble produces good people, sound minds in sound bodies. Edo State will take the sport to schools, starting from secondary schools, and we will continue to support the sport.”
Mary Paul/ The Guardian