By Shedrack Saxon Udu
A 500-level undergraduate of the University of Lagos, UNILAG Doko Oluwatimilehin on Saturday emerged as the winner of the second edition of the West African Scrabble Championship, which took place in Lagos.
Doko, who missed the African Scrabble Championship in Lusaka, Zambia and the last World Scrabble Championship held in Las Vegas, Nevada USA in July won 19 and lost nine rounds of games to garnered a cumulative spread of +1163 points.
The pharmacy student of the University of Lagos had an impressive run at the three day Championship, he ended Day 1 on top of the log with 9 wins ahead of George Ezinore and Oluwatimilehin Doko and George Ezinore secured 15 wins each at the end of Day 2 but Ezinore had a better cumulative of plus 1243 points.
At the start of the final Day of competition, Doko defeated his school mate, friend and current African Scrabble Champion Enoch Nwali 495-293 in game 23 on table 2 to set up a clash with George Ezinore at the start of the King of the Hill in game 24 on table 1 which Ezinore of Wordcraft Scrabble Club won by 439-431 sending the new kid on the throne to table 2.
Former African Champion Nsikak Etim’s dream of sitting on table 1 was cut short by Doko 548-346 while Tega Okiemute send George Ezinore back to table 1 with a comfortable 496-454 wins. Doko took game 26, 555-457 but lost round 27 narrowly by 372-373. The final was quick and short as Oluwatimilehin Doko despatched Tega Okiemute 508-418 to win the $2000 Dollars cash prize.
Moses Peter a former African King came second after beating George Ezinore 507-418 to amass 18 wins just like Tega Okiemute but Moses Peter went home with the $1000 because of a higher cumulative of+1351 points.
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, Ezinnore George, Odoh Anthony, Etim Nsitak and Victor Godwin, occupying the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh positions.
The Gambia’s Richard Sock finished in the tenth position to receive a $100 cash prize earmarked for the top ten.
Charles Tachie-Menson was the best Ghanaian at number 12 at the end of the grueling competition
Nigeria emerged as the winner of the team event claiming $1500 cash prize while The Gambia finished as the second position and gets$1000 while came third and pocket$500.
Elated by his feat, Doko admitted that his victory was not a stroll in the pack, saying that it has been a herculean task to combine academics and sports together.
The President of Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF), Toke Aka attributed the emergence of young ones like African Scrabble Champion; Enoch Nwali and Doko Oluwatimilehin entrenching their names as rising stars in the continent to developmental plans of the federation.
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.