The colourful Team Nigeria started her quest to defend the team title and also reclaim the individual crown at the World Scrabble Championship holding in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on a positive note on Saturday with four players in the top 20 at the end of Championship Day 1.
The four players currently leading the Team Nigeria challenge in Las Vegas are former African Champion, Nsikak Etim, former World Champion, Wellington Jighere, current national Green Jacket holder and West African Champion Eta Karo and Bright Idahosa.
Nigeria is occupying the second spot in the team event with 26 wins behind host USA on 28, Canada on 23 while Australia is fourth with 22 wins among the 29 countries in attendance at the competition.
Nsikak Etim is the highest ranked Nigeria in the individual event at number 3 with 7 wins and a cumulative points of plus 662 from 8 rounds of games just like Wellington Jighere who is occupying the fourth spot on the table with 7 wins but with a lower cumulative points of 573.
In 14th position, Eta Karo with 6 wins and plus 370 cumulative points and Bright Idahosa, 18th with 6 wins and plus 221 cumulative points are the other Nigerian touch bearers in the top 20 after the close of play on Day 1.
Home boy, Will Anderson is leading the table with 8 with and a plus 888 cumulative points ahead of England’s Harshan Lamabadusuriya who is yet to drop a game just like Anderson but has 569 cumulative points.
This group of Nigerians with 5 wins, Emmanuel Ofidi, Olawale Fashina, Oshivere Avwenegha, Olatunde Oduwole, Ojiru Onota, Prince Osahon Omosefe and Tuoyo Mayuku are separated by cumulative points.
Recently crown third Governor Duoye Diri national championship and current African Champion, Enoch Nwali had a slow start at the World Championship losing his first four games before he regained his groove to win 3 out of the next 4 games.
Christian Mensah at number 20 with 5 victories and plus 564 cumulative points is the highest ranked Ghanaian at the championship, George Addo-Quaye, Victor Amartey and Charles Haizel Tachie-Menson a regular face in the Nigeria Scrabble circuit are holding the green gold and red Ghanaian flag with a black star high in Las Vegas while Patrick Mulemena Mpundu, Lubunda Ngala and Justin Chansa are the bullets from Zambia with 4, 3 and 2 wins each.
One of three South Africa’s representatives at the World Championship Steven Gruzd is on 4 wins at number 69.
Sierra Leone’s duo of Yusuf Koroma and Emmanuel King with 4 wins each sitting close to each other at number 76 and 77. Another member of Team Sierra Leone, Ibrahim Deen Swaray is also on 4 wins.
Wenwa Akinyi at the 89 spot with 3 wins and a plus 81 cumulative is the Harambe Star from Kenya, Denis Owor and Chris Ntege are the Cranes from the Pearl of Africa, Uganda that are finding it difficult to fly in Nevada with just 2 wins in 8 games.
Hilario Serrano of Philippines is first from the rear at the competition.
Nigeria is being represented at the World Championship by 18 players, the highest by any African country and second only to host United States of America.
A good number of Nigerians are also participating in the championship under different country’s flags.
These are the countries in attendance:
Australia, Canada, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and Zambia.
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