KARACHI, Sept 23: Javeria Mirza of Karachi Grammar School confirmed her status as the finest youth player in Pakistan by winning the qualifiers for the World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC) that concluded at Mama Parsi School here on Monday.

She has already played three previous WYSCs for Pakistan and this year will be her last appearance at the youth level. She is also tipped as a favourite to win the coveted title of world champion this year.

Javeria clinched the title with a dramatic win against Mohammad Inshal of Aga Khan High School in the final round. Trailing by almost 100 points, Javeria pulled out a bingo in her last move to win 453 to 452, a heart-breaking defeat for Inshal by a solitary point in a high-scoring match which pushed him to the third position.

But the comeback queen of the day was undoubtedly Javeria Salman of Mama Parsi School. After finishing the first day on a disappointing 19th position, she struggled her way up the order and mounted a serious challenge at the title.

The two Javerias, former classmates and born only four days apart, were locked in a spectacular battle of wits and vocabulary before the senior Javeria edged ahead. Javeria Salman finished second.

Fifteen-year-old Hamza Sheikh of Ladybird School, who failed to qualify last year finished fourth, ahead of many experienced players.

The Pakistan team selected for the WYSC is Javeria Mirza (KGS), Javeria Salman (Mama Parsi), M. Inshal (Aga Khan High School), Hamza Sheikh (Ladybird), Moiz Baig (Falconhouse), Tayyab Mirza (BVS Parsi), Mariam Arif (Beaconhouse), Arham Abidi (KGS), Hammad Hadi Khan (BVS Parsi) and Talal Amjad (City School).

The team, a favourite to win the first position at the WYSC this year, will be going through intensive training supervised by national champion Waseem Khatri before leaving for Dubai in December.

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