Gulf Air sponsors Bahraini Word Wizard to go to World Youth Scrabble Championship in Australia

Travel News Asia Thursday, 9 November 2006

Seventeen-year-old Bahraini student Mohammed Zafar is all set to fly to Australia, courtesy of Gulf Air, to take part in the World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC).

At the three-day youth word Olympics, being held from 1 December at the University of Wollongong, near Sydney, Mohammed will show his word wizardry in the event that will see nearly 60 under 18 year olds from about 20 countries competing.

As the airline of the Kingdom of Bahrain, were very supportive of promising national youth, who are the real assets of the country, said Gulf Air Vice President Marketing and Sales Lee Shave. This is a wonderful opportunity to promote Bahrain in Australia, where we recommenced daily services three years ago.

At an assembly of Gulf scrabble players in Bahrain last June, Mohammed, along with twins Nadeesha and Nilusha Hemachandra from Oman, were declared qualifiers from the Gulf for the championship.

I am very thrilled, said an excited Mohammed. Gulf Air providing my flight tickets to Sydney is a great help. Without the ticket I might not have planned to go to the WYSC.

Selected according to a quota system by national scrabble groups in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, participants at the WYSC will have about 20 games to play over three days, before a best-of-five is staged between the top two youth supremos.

An active member of the Bahrain Scrabble League, Mohammed is honing up his analytical skills, board strategy and game techniques, aiming for the top prizes to the championship: an automatic seat at next years ninth World Scrabble Championship, the WYSC cup and some of the AS$ 5,000 in prize money.

A final year student at the Pakistan Urdu School, Mohammed started playing the mind game just a little over three years ago. Besides scores of national tournaments, he has competed in six international events including one in Oman.

While physical sports are often team oriented, mind games like Scrabble usually put the player on his or her own, helping to strengthen and expand the vocabulary and making the competitor feel more comfortable in the language.

Scrabble can be played in nearly 40 languages, from Arabic to Turkish.

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