Cyril Umebiye has won the South-west Closed Scrabble Championship held in Abeokuta.
Umebiye, a former national scrabble captain, put up a quality performance to maintain a 100 per cent record of six wins in the first period of the 12-round tournament.
Hakeem Olaribigbe of Lagos State took the second position, while Dipo Akanbi earned the third place.
Speaking after the game, Umebiye said: “It’s been a while since I won a tournament… going to almost two to three years now. The terrain is tough in Nigeria, even if it was a 10-man retreat, its always difficult to win. I just thank God for this title.
“I am dedicating this Southwest Closed Scrabble Tournament trophy to my wife because she always challenged and encouraged me to win whenever I attend a tournament,” Umebiye said.
He added: “The level of competition was really, high, especially with the addition of tertiary students, who have moved up in rankings in a short time. They have enough time on their hands for preparations.
“Their transition from the Opens to the intermediate and Masters is mostly not more than a year or two.”
In other categories of the championship, Tunde Saporu from Ogun State won the intermediate category and was fourth overall, while Bukunmi Afolayan, also from Ogun State, picked the Best Women’s title, just as Collins Okafor and Olabode Olabiyi won the Opens and Veterans categories respectively.
Elated by the outcome of the competition, South-West Zonal Coordinator, Emmanuel Egbelle, said the organisation was amazing, adding, “good playing hall, hotels, food and choosing Abeokuta for this year’s tournament made it possible for some of the players to see the city for the first time.”
He said: “We started preparations for this event immediately after the first edition in Ibadan, Oyo State, last year. In all, I will say it went well and it lived up to expectations and we only hope it can only get better.
“The turnout was very impressive, though it is a regional tournament and also, we have to turn down some entries due to late registration. We had close to 80 players in attendance.”
Egbelle said the tournament would help players preparing for the 2024 National Sports Festival in gauging their level of development in the game.
He commended Ogun State Scrabble Association (OSSA), led by Adekoyejo Adegbesan, for being a good host.
Close to 80 players across states in the Zone featured at the one-day tournament held at the Conference Hotel.