KARACHI: Pakistan’s youth have made a name for themselves in the international scrabble circuit, winning the 2013 World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC) and finishing as runners-up in the last two editions.
And 16-year-old Abdullah Abbasi, last year’s finalist at the WYSC, wants to further the legacy and has nothing but the top prize in his sights when this year’s world event commences from August 27 in Lille, France.
“I just have to jump one more place [from last year’s finish] and I can win this,” Abbasi told The Express Tribune. “I’m going to give my best and it is the top place that I’m aiming for, nothing less.”
The Islamabad-based player further added that he is focused on improving his own game and will remain unfazed by the nature of the opponent.
“The competition is going to be tough but I just need to focus on my game, no matter who the opponent is,” said Abbasi. “I really need to win it [the title] this time because I’ve put in a lot of effort and worked really hard.”
Talking about his training, Abbasi revealed that he has been staying in Karachi, away from home, since the past two months and has been training with 2013 champion Moizullah Baig to improve his skills.
“I’ve been training away from my family for the past two months. I’m extremely focused on winning this time around and I would also like to thank my parents, who have been extremely supportive,” he added.
Abbasi would be among the 16 players the Pakistan Scrabble Association would be sending to France and according to Baig, the youngster has all the right attributes to become champion.
“He is the highest-rated youth player in the world and I’m confident that he can win. In fact I can certainly say that he will win,” said Baig. “The entire squad has worked hard and we’ve done our best during training too.”
The squad includes Ali Rashid, Sohaib Sanaullah, S Imaad Ali, Ahad Riaz, Hassan bin Arshad, Hasham Hadi, Abbas Ali, Muhammad Talha, Muddasir Javed, Taha Mirza, Daniyal Sanaullah, Absar Mustajab, Ahmed Salik, Saim Usmani and Daniyal Iqbal.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.