Doko Oluwatimilehin, a 500-level Pharmacy student at the University of Lagos has emerged winner of the second edition of the West African Scrabble Championship, (WASC) which took place in Lagos on Saturday the 25th of November 2023.
Doko, who missed the African Scrabble Championship in Lusaka, Zambia and the World Scrabble Championship held in Las Vegas, Nevada USA in July 2023, won nineteen and lost nine rounds of games with a cumulative spread of +1163 points to edge out Tega Okiemute (3rd) and former African champion Moses Peter, who finished second.
The 2nd WASC title holder had an impressive run throughout the three-day Championship. He ended day one at the top of the ladder with 9 wins. At the end of day two, Oluwatimilehin Doko (15 points, +774) and George Ezinore secured 15 wins each but Ezinore finished the day ahead on spread (+1243)
At the start of the final day of the championship, Doko defeated his school mate and current African Scrabble Champion Enoch Nwali 495-293 in game 23 on table 2. He then had to contend with the second runner-up, Tega Okiemute three times in the final KOH rounds; 26, 27 and 28 to claim the WASC title and the two thousand dollar cash prize.
Moses Peter finished in second place after beating George Ezinore 507-418 to amass 18 points with Tega Okiemute (18 points, +1165) but Moses Peter went home with the one thousand dollar first runner-up cash prize because of his higher cumulative (+1351) spread.
Team Nigeria, at the end of the championship asserted its dominance as the powerhouse of Scrabble game in Africa as its players occupied the first to the ninth positions.The players include Okiemute Tega, Karo Eta, Nwali Enoch, Ezinore George, Odoh Anthony, Etim Nsikak and Victor Godwin.The Gambia's Richard Sock finished in the tenth position to receive the hundred dollar cash prize earmarked for the top ten. Charles Tachie-Menson was the best Ghanaian at number 12 at the end of the competition.
Nigeria emerged winner of the team event claiming one thousand five hundred dollar cash prize while Gambia finished ahead of Ghana to claim the one thousand dollar team prize for the first runner-up. Team Ghana took home five hundred dollars for the third best team.
Elated by his feat, Doko admitted that his victory was not a stroll in the pack, saying that it has been a herculean task t combining studies and sports.
"It is very thrilling to win this tournament. I feel elated really, it is a dream come true. I just want to keep improving my game."
The President of Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF), Toke Aka attributed the emergence of young players like African Scrabble Champion; Enoch Nwali and Doko Oluwatimilehin to the youth Scrabble games organised by the NSF to develop budding talents. "Then they used to have a scrabble game where secondary schools meet and winners emerge. Nwali Enoch and Doko Oluwatimilehin are a product of that tournament".
"They went through all of that, that was like 10 years ago when they started, today they are winning, it is not because they started today. They started a long time ago and we are beginning to see the result of what they started a long year ago,” he said.
The Sports Minister, Senator John Enoh represented by the ministry’s Lagos state Liaison Officer, Ikhana Mbora appreciated the effort of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation, NSF for hosting the West African Championship. “We are impressed with the Nigeria Scrabble Federation, NSF. I am not surprised by what we are seeing. I want to thank you all for coming,” he said.
The next edition of the championship is expected to be hosted by Gambia, in 2024.
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