Cricket Mad Pakistan Bonkers Over Scrabble
Huge youth event hopes to break all records
Innovation and imagination are the watchwords coming out of Karachi, Pakistan in the lead up to the massive Inter School Championships on the 28th February. The event is bringing Scrabble to a whole new and young audience.
The 17th edition of the annual event is hoping to break all records, and is backed by big corporate sponsorship. Last year's 764 competitors made it the biggest participation event for any single sport in the cricket mad country's history. Organisers this year are hoping to improve on that, with 800 plus from over 100 educational institutes to attend.
One of the biggest youth events in the world, this year's edition will feature young people up to 23 years old in six age categories. The top 80 will be selected for special training in two stages, with a final elite band being selected to take part in the MSI World Youth Scrabble Championship in Lille, France in August.
Announcing the event, director Tariq Pervez of the Pakistan Scrabble Association said that organisational issues are gradually being overcome and the event will go ahead at the Ramada Plaza Hotel on Sunday February 28th.
"We have decided to operate free shuttle buses to and from the venue for the first time, which is a big challenge for us," said Tariq.
"We are trying our best to give a memorable experience to the young players. Horlicks is again the title sponsor bearing all expenses and there will be a nonstop supply of free drinks at the venue."
And generating further interest and publicity for Scrabble away from the event, the drinks manufacturer is distributing half a million sachets of their product to schools nationwide. The 700 rupee (US6.70) cost per player is being offset by a famous clothing brand who will be giving away a 700 rupee discount voucher.
Tariq added: "We are also in final talks with a local TV sports channel. All the top schools in Karachi will take part as it is an important part of their calendar. Many others are expected from institutes nationwide."
The top 80 under 18 players will be chosen for training from March to June, conducted by 'veteran' youth players who have competed internationally. After this, international master and multiple Pakistan champion Waseem Khatri will take over as the training intensifies. The WYSC costs have already been met with a sponsorship deal with a local foods company. A Pakistani player was second last year and they are pushing hard to go one better at the MSI event this year.
Stay tuned to MSA for all the latest news in Youth Scrabble!