By Michael Benjamin
Having once represented Guyana at the World Scrabble Championships in Malaysia in 2009, National Scrabble Champion, Abigail McDonald, is quite cognizant of the stringent demands of the tournament. Nevertheless, the local scrabble queen has prepared thoroughly and is ready to staunchly represent Guyana in the imminent tournament scheduled for Prague, Czech Republic December 4 – 8 next.
McDonald leaves Guyana next Friday, November 29, for New York and will remain in that city until Sunday December 1 before continuing her journey to the tournament venue. Kaieteur Sport caught up with McDonald yesterday afternoon and she is brimming with confidence.
She said that she has prepared thoroughly and is anxious to face up to the expected keen rivalry. Indeed, the competition is expected to be tough with the incumbent, Malaysian, Nigel Richards, a five times world champion, among the top players to beat if she should succeed in clinching the coveted accolade.
McDonald received an inkling of the competitive nature of the tournament when she had her inaugural sojourn in Malaysia in 2009. Despite her failed attempt at the crown, McDonald managed to win her game against Leslie Stewart of Trinidad and Tobago and clinched a few more against several other top class players.
Mc Donald said that she has garnered much experience ever since and is confident that her performance will be much improved in the imminent tournament.
In all, three Caribbean nationals will compete in the championships, the others being Barbadian, Orlet Bulluck and Trinidadian, Stewart. Whilst defeating Stewart in her inaugural sojourn, Mc Donald had conceded a game to Bullock when they clashed in the Caribbean championships in Guyana some two years ago.
McDonald remembers and said that she would be happy to clash with Bullock once again to avenge that loss. As a matter of fact she said that her first goal is to top the performances of her Caribbean counterparts. “I am seriously aspiring to eclipsing my performance (in Malaysia) and to exit the tournament as the best player from these parts,” said McDonald.
The cost of the trip has surpassed $680,000 but the GASP Executive had organised a BBQ and Lime on November 16 last and is very grateful for the support received. Otherwise, several individuals and corporate entities have pitched in to make the trip a success including Fly Jamaica Airlines which has donated an airline ticket to the scrabble queen for the return leg of the Guyana/New York portion of the journey.
Southland International Inc. and Kings Jewelry World also contributed handsomely to the venture and McDonald has expressed deep gratitude to her benefactors. The top Guyanese player retained her crown after placing among the top two in the National Championships earlier this year. She then went on to defeat Gafoor, the other top runner, 3-0 in the three best of 5 to earn the right to represent Guyana at the imminent championships. Kaieteur Sport wishes McDonald all the best in her endeavors.
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