Nigeria’s draught champion, Doubra Otuku, says he will do everything to retain his title and win the coveted N1 million prize money in the second edition of the international draught competition beginning in Benin on Friday.
Draught is played by two people each with 12 round pieces on a board of 64 squares.
Otuku, who waded off stiff Ghanaian opposition to emerge champion at the maiden edition in 2017, said on Wednesday that “I am here to retain my title.’’
“The tournament will become more competitive with the entrance of players from Cameroon, but I am not ready to just give up my title.
“I have heard that some of the Cameroonian players are very good; I have also worked on my weaknesses and I will do everything possible to win the coveted N1 million prize money,’’ he said.
Top seeded players from Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon had arrived Benin ahead of the three-nation competition.
Competitors are expected to play in two categories- premier and first division– while winners are expected to cart away cash prizes, including the first prize of N1million.
The maiden edition, which held in Benin, featured players from Nigeria and Ghana as 43 players battled for the N500,000 star prize.
Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the Chairman of the Organising Committee, said that the tournament was put in place to erase the erroneous belief that the game was for “ lazy or jobless people in the society.’’
“Rather, this is one of the most intelligent, strategic and physically engaging sports in the world,” he said.
Mr Mika Amonokhai, the Commissioner for Sports and Special Duties in Edo, at the maiden edition had expressed optimism that the game could become a national sport.
“ That is why as a government, we are ready to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to see to the registration and promotion of this sport to the highest level.
“I am also assuring the organisers of this tournament that Edo State Ministry of Sports under my watch is ready to partner the organisers to make the best use of the event, ‘’he had said. (NAN)