Moizullah Baig is all set to defend his title at the World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC) in Colombo as the 13-member team leaves for Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
Pakistan Scrabble Association (PSA) Director Tariq Pervez said that the 13-member team has players who qualified for the championship while three to four players will be accompanying the contingent on quota-basis to gain experience.
The PSA held a press conference at the Beach Luxury Hotel on Tuesday, where Pervez revealed that at least three to four players had to withdraw from the initial squad due to lack of sponsorship.
“We have a very strong squad and Moiz is twice the player that he was last year,” Pervez told The Express Tribune.
“He is a year older and has practiced with the best players. He can win it again and the next champion will be from Pakistan.”
Tough selection process
Pervez emphasised that Pakistan’s success at the World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC) is the result of the merit-based selection process.
The PSA holds three qualifying stages after running an all-schools tournament at the beginning of the year. The process also includes six months of training before the qualification events.
“We hold the school’s competitions mostly in February and the best 40 players get to train for six months ahead of the qualification rounds,” explained Pervez. “There are three layers of these events. We have ensured that the process is transparent; every players needs to prove his talent earn ranking points to book their place in the squad.
“Ours is the toughest selection round at the youth level in the world,” added Pervez, who is also a member of the International Scrabble Youth Federation. “We take it more seriously than the other countries. Our selection criterion is in fact the same as the criteria for the senior’s competition.”
The official further said that the team is leaving a week before the WYSC on August 29 so that the players can compete at the Sri Lanka Open as well, where they will get a chance to face the top 15 international senior players.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2014.
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