Navya Zaveri’s (left) performance against Moizullah Baig in the final was good enough for fourth place overall. Image Credit: Courtesy: Nikhil Soneja

Dubai: The UAE team secured bronze at the eighth Annual World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC), which finished on Saturday at the Etisalat Academy in Dubai.

Indian High School student, Navya Zaveri, 15, finished fourth overall and retained the under-16 title he won in Birmingham last year.

“I’m pretty much satisfied with my result I had a decent share of luck in a couple of games,” he said. “I am I happy to have nabbed the under-16 title. I managed to win six of them, thus securing the 4th position overall. Subsequently, I was also crowned the under-16 champion. My last round of the tournament was memorable.”

The CEO of Indian High School, Ashok Kumar, said: “It is a proud moment, of course, since Navya has won this prestigious world title. As educators we relentlessly strive towards moulding a child to succeed in their endeavours and develop a well-rounded personality.”

Thirteen-year-old Sanchit Kapoor from the GEMS Modern Academy was sixth.

The 136 players, who came from 20 countries and were aged 17 and under, played more than 1,500 games in the tournament, which was won by Pakistan, with Thailand second. The UAE, in only their third outing in the tournament, were next ahead of more experienced nations like Australia, the UK, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

The WYSC is the flagship tournament for the World English-language Scrabble Players Association (Wespa), the international body for the fast-growing game, and has been held since 2006 in countries such as Australia, the UK, the Philippines and Malaysia. This year was the first time the event has been held in the Middle East.

Nikhil Soneja, chairman of the UAE Scrabble Club and executive committee member of Wespa, said: “I couldn’t be prouder of our team. As hosts, we were able to expand our team strength from three to 18 this year and thanks to intense preparation over the past few months, the entire team performed well.”

Karen Richards, Wespa youth committee chair, and Amy Byrne, the tournament director, cited the UAE participants among the most professional and well-behaved of the competitors.