…400 participants from Africa, Europe book participation
ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
No fewer than 400 participants from across Nigeria and Europe have booked their participation in the first-ever Governor Douye Diri National Scrabble Championship taking place this weekend in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
The participants, including former world champion, Wellington Jighere, as well as no fewer than four former African champions are participating in the scrabble showpiece.
The three-day championship is sanctioned by the Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF) with some of its officials already in the state to ensure a hitch-free competition.
Chairman of the Bayelsa State Scrabble Association (BYSA), Mr. Daniel Alabrah, who confirmed this to reporters in Yenagoa, said the scrabble community in the state was upbeat and that preparations were in the final stages.
Alabrah, who is also the Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor, said the interest from secondary schools in the state was quite encouraging and that many schools have equally registered their students.
Alabrah, however, noted that sponsorship for the championship had been a challenge.
He commended Governor Douye Diri for his commitment to sports development and for encouraging youth participation in sports generally.
He said: “We are set for the Governor Diri Scrabble Champion. Already, NSF officials, including the President and Secretary-General, are in Yenagoa. We are optimistic about delivering a good tournament.
“The interest from secondary schools has been quite encouraging too. Many have registered their students for the championship.
“The registration is free for students not above 16 years as the target are those in secondary school. Scrabble is a board game that positively develops the mind and we are focused on catching them young.
“It is however challenging organising a tournament like this without sponsorship. We do hope that companies operating in the state would change their attitude to corporate social responsibility, especially when it has to do with developing our youths.
“Let me commend the governor, who has supported the organising committee and continued to show his commitment to developing sports in the state. Governor Diri is truly a lover of sports.”
He assured the people of adequate security as the police command had been informed about the championship.
He also said the 8pm curfew in the state would not affect the event as games would end before the time.