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Sierra Leone Sports: Scrabble players to challenge for World Championship Slot

Scrabble players in action

Scrabble players in action

Top seeded Scrabble players from across the country will be vying for a slot in the 2017 World Championship, when they meet in a two-day brain sweating tournament to be held on Saturday 15 – Sunday 16 July at the Siaka Stevens Stadium, Atlantic Hall in Freetown.
The tournament will be tagged Shieku Bangura Open Scrabble Tournament and it is organized and sponsored by the Scrabble Association of Sierra Leone.
Each competitor will be playing a total of 16 games (8 games per day).
According to the Association, the competition will be organized in honour of their late President, Shieku Bangura, whose demise was a complete shock to the membership. The tournament will be used as a major qualifying event for the World Championship.
The organizers are expecting to see more than 20 players register to compete for the slot, with the eventual winner gaining automatic qualification to compete in the world champs alongside Sierra Leone’s top Scrabble player, Mohamed Alieu Kamara. Meanwhile, those finishing in the remaining top four positions will be registered as sub-players to play against those who didn’t qualify to play amongst the grandmasters. They confirmed that the association will go the extra mile to provide funding for the five players if all goes well. But, if they find it difficult to seek sponsorship, the champion of the Shieku Bangura tourney will be provided for to join Mohamed Alieu Kamara to represent Sierra Leone in Scrabble’s biggest world event.
Fan favourite, Emmanuel King, is determined to win the tourney with huge spread margin against his opponents as he intends to make his debut in the world stage.
King remarked, “I’m eager to represent my country for the first time in the World Championship, but the qualifying tournament will be a close contest as every player wants to secure the automatic slots to play against the grandmasters”.
“Like any player, I’m prepared to face the challenge and I will play with concentration to attain my dream of playing in the World Championship against professional players, “he said.
Despite King’s optimism to overpower his opponents, there are other players who are equally up to the task of winning the tournament convincingly.
Top rated player, Mohamed Alieu Kamara, who has already qualified for the tournament, said it will be an honour to compete for the first time with a team from his motherland.
Kamara commented, “It has never happened in the history of Sierra Leone scrabble. I had competed as a single competitor in the World Championship and I know exactly how difficult it is. Therefore, I will be happy to see my country represented by two brilliant players so as to increase our chances of improving our ratings”.
However, over 50 countries have registered to compete in the World Scrabble Championship to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, November this year. Africa will host the biggest, global scrabble event, for the first time since its inception in the early 90’s.
By Magdalene S. Konneh
Friday July 14, 2017.

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