Pakistan finish runner-ups to Sri Lanka

Pakistan finished second at the WESPA Youth Cup 2017 in Kuala Lumpur — a result the Pakistan Scrabble Association (PSA) believes is a positive one considering the incredible form of winners Sri Lanka.

After winning the Princess Cup in Thailand last week, Pakistan were keen to add another trophy to their collection but Sri Lanka’s imperious form and a tougher draw ruined their plan.

Pakistan’s top player Abdullah Abbasi, who finished second at the WYSC last year, started out strong but began to show signs of exhaustion in his last three matches, just like he did in 2015.

In the end, he had to settle for the third spot with 18 wins and a spread of 1654, while Sri Lanka’s Aabid Ismail and Janul D’ Silva claimed the top two positions.

The draw wasn’t kind to the Pakistani players either as three of their top players had to face each other in the final stages.

Hasham Hadi Khan and Sohaib Sanaullah finished on fourth and fifth positions, while Danial Sanaullah finished on seventh spot.

“It was a good performance by our players,” PSA director youth program Tariq Pervez told The Express Tribune. “We are the second-best team in the world but the Sri Lankans are improving fast and fully deserved this title. At the same time we were a little unlucky too as our top three players had to face each other.”

Pervez added that Pakistan will have a better chance of winning the title next year as the pool of players is increasing in Pakistan.

“Sri Lanka have quality players, but we’ll be having a larger talent pool next year, and we’ll then be choosing the best talent,” he said. “So there is hope but we need to work harder.”

The event market the last youth championship for Abdullah Abbasi, regarding which Parvez added: “Unfortunately, this was the last time Abdullah competed at the youth championships he’ll be over-aged for U18 events by next year, but we still have Hasham and Sohaib.”

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