Enoch Nwali, a 300 level Health Education student of the University of Lagos, on Saturday emerged the overall winner at the second edition of the Emmanuel Egbele annual scrabble tournament.
The two-day tournament which kicked off on Friday, 3rd June, at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, saw Nwali finish top in the Masters category which is the highest among the three categories at this year’s edition.
For his effort Nwali, who was runners-up at this year’s West African Scrabble Championship in Accra, Ghana, went home with the cash prize of ₦250,000 a jacket and a trophy.
The runner-up position in the Masters category went to Emmanuel Umujose who earned himself ₦180,000 while Jighere Wellington got ₦120,000 for finishing third.
In the second category which is the Intermediate, Taiwo Adeniran finished top and went home with ₦150,000 and the Opens category was won by Emmanuel Enyi who was rewarded with ₦100,000 and a hoodie.
Speaking after emerging the best player at this year’s edition, Nwali confessed he never believe he will become champion.
“I feel very excited, I can’t describe it in words it’s something I have looked forward to. It’s just mind blowing I still can’t believe I won.
“This is the major competition in Nigerian scrabble it is an honour to play in this type of event its very exciting.
“The way forward now is just more work, more success and I hope to keep doing my best in future events.
“The best place to play scrabble in the world is Nigeria and the best time to start is now.
On how he prepared coming into this year’s tournament, Nwali said:”My preparation coming to this event was more psychological because I had a bad streak from some tournaments in the last months. So I just needed to relax, unwind and just put myself in the best shape mentally for this tournament and that’s what I did.”
And on his thoughts about this year’s edition, organiser of the event Emmanuel Egbele described the experience as quite interesting.
“The experience in this year’s edition was quite exciting highly exhilarating and as you can see it was hugely competitive and at the end the winners emerge. So it was quite an interesting and very beautiful experience.”
Egbele explained why he decided to come up with the idea of organising scrabble tournament.
“Putting this together is part of my own objective to contribute to the growth of the game. Also knowing that scrabble is not one of those sports that gets a lot of attention, it’s also my own way of bringing it to public view let people see it and appreciate the game. Also to give players the opportunity to continue to improve on their skills so that whenever the opportunity comes up they can be able to perform very well. So that’s just the main driver behind it.”
And on what the future holds for scrabble in Nigeria, he said:”For the future of scrabble in Nigeria we can only say it is bright. As you can see Enoch is a very young man, he is still in the university and for him to come here and in a field of very experienced players to cone up tops shows that we have very young and very good talents coming up.
“So the future can only be brighter because apart from Enoch, there are also some younger players that have also done well in different categories. So yes the future is very bright and we can only expect it to get better.”
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