History Made:–A Nigerian ‘Jighere Wellington’ Emerges world scrabble champion

Jighere Wellington just took the win at the 2015 World Scrabble Championship Best of Seven series in Perth Australia. He beat his opponent Lewis Mackay 4 games to 0. He is the first player from Africa to ever win a world championship.

The duel which was monitored online by the News Agency of Nigeria kicked off at 2 a.m. Nigerian time with the winner set to emerge after coming tops in seven games.

But Wellington, who had already finished first in a 32-Game Scrabble marathon to qualify for the two-man finals, defeated his English opponent in just four games and thus becomes the new World Scrabble Champion.

scrabble champion

In 2007, Mr. Wellington placed 3rd at the World Scrabble Championship. Nigeria emerged as the best team of the championship as five of its six representatives finished in top 50 players of the tournament with Ayorinde Saidu and Emmanuel Umujose placing 16th and 17th, respectively.

With this victory Nigeria will gain more slots in terms of representations at subsequent world tournaments.

The President of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation, NSF, Suleiman Garba, in a phone interview attributed the victory to hard work and dedication.

“It is a testimony of the potential of Nigeria as a country and the sacrifice and hard work of the board under my leadership.

“We started preparation about a year ago with seven camps which we christened Scrabble Meets to put our team in shape for the world championship and it has paid off.

“I am very proud of the Nigerian team and very proud to be Nigerian.”

The winning Scrabble board

Who is Jighere Wellington?

  • Jighere started playing Scrabble in 1996 after an older brother introduced him to the game. He has been hooked ever since. In his beginnings, he was a very strong player, but it seemed like he would always fall just short of victory. He had played in several major tournaments but seemed to lose steam towards the end. He would start off well then would start making mistakes. He began having more success in 2007, when he got third at Worlds.
  • 27 year old Wellington is a final year student of the University of Benin, in the Faculty of Agriculture where he is studying crop science
  • Wellington Jighere, besides having a pretty cool name, has been one of Nigeria’s best Scrabble players for a long time. In 2007, he was just one game away from making the finals of the World Scrabble Championship in Mumbai, but he fell in round 24
  • Then, in late 2010, he retired. Citing a few disagreements with the way things were being run in the Nigeria Scrabble Federation, he hung up his boots (tiles?) and decided to focus on his studies. Wellington finished up his career in crop studies and performed his NYSC
  • Still, Jighere announced his presence to the world by finishing 3rd in his first Worlds ever. In 2008 he won the Africa Scrabble Championship, held in Nairobi, Kenya, and defended his title in 2010 in Accra, Ghana. He was 11th in the 2009 Worlds, being as high as 4th at one point but losing a few close games, and also won the prestigious Godswill Akpabio International Scrabble Classics that year. He purchased a brand new car with his winnings.
  • source| scrabbletvlive

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