The latest edition of the World Scrabble Championship (WESPAC) has concluded in Goa India with Nigel Richards winning the title for the fifth time.
Richards is widely considered the best Scrabble player in history and the result was largely expected.
What took many by surprise was the strong show by youth players including three from Sri Lanka - Radinka Dissanayake of Bishop’s College, Janul de Silva and Qays Sangani both of Royal College.
They were among only six players under the age of 18 out of a field of 141 who participated at the World Championship with the other three from Thailand.
These three youths were part of the largest team ever from Sri Lanka for the World Scrabble Championship.
Four players, Lakshan Wanniaarachchi, Jayaska Baranage, de Silva and Dissanayake were chosen based on the country allocation and a fifth player,
Sangani was selected through a special qualifying tournament.
Last but not least Sri Lankan born Priya Fernando represented Canada.
De Silva of Royal College is the World Youth Scrabble Championship runner up for both 2018 and 2017.
Fellow Royalist Aabid Ismail also qualified by winning the Youth Championship
in 2018 but declined to take part due to academic commitments.
De Silva has previously represented Sri Lanka at the world championships in 2017 where he was the solitary youth player.
He won 17 out of 32 games played including a win against defending Champion Akshay Bandarkar.
Wanniaarachchi has represented Sri Lanka at the world championship on many occasions and it was his sterling performance where he finished 18th in 2017, that increased the country allocation for Sri lanka from two players to three.
This year Lakshan also finished on 17 out of 32 and was just behind De Silva on margins.
Jayaska Baranage and Dissanayake were both representing Sri Lanka for the first time at the World Championships.
Radinka, a student of Bishop’s College, has represented the country at the World Youth Championships on five occasions. She is the only girl from any country to secure a place in the top ten at the youth cup during the past three years.
She is only the second female player and the first school girl to take part in the world championships in the Sri Lanka Scrabble’s 33-year history.
She is also the only female player under the age of 18 at the world championships. She managed to win 16 of her 32 games.
Sangani is another success story at World Youth Scrabble Championships. He secured a fifth berth for Sri Lanka by grabbing the position available for the best under 18 player at the qualifying tournament for fringe players held the day before the main event.
Sangani had a perfectly respectable 14 out of 32 wins.