Africa Junior Chess Champion, Quickpen Returns Home to Rapturous Welcome
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By Hananeel Jackson
After making the country proud in the just concluded African Youth Chess Championship in Acara, Ghana, Nigeria’s prodigy, Deborah Quickpen arrived in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital to a tumultuous welcome.
Miss Quickpen returned with her coach, Bomo Kigigha alongside two others from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos to the Bayelsa State International Airport amidst huge celebrations.
The nine year old Bayelsa-born Chess star who amassed 8.0 points, defeated Tunisia’s Hasnaoui Abrar in her 9th and final game, to be crowned champion ahead of nineteen others in the competition that featured players from other African nations.
The jubilant crowd received the gold medalist from the Bayelsa International Airport, near Amassoma to the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa,accompanied by officials of the State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Bayelsa State Sports Council amidst solidarity songs and dancing.
Addressing the contingent, Bayelsa State commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Daniel Igali congratulated Deborah Quickpen and her team for making the State proud, assuring her of the State unrelenting commitment to see her go beyond this level even as she prepares to represent Nigeria next year.
He asserted that the State government would do everything possible for Deborah Quickpen to take part in the World Youth cadet championship in Batumi, Georgia next year having conquered Africa.
Earlier, Director of Sports Bayelsa State Sports Council, Sir Braveman Wodi, commended the trio of Shine Ekperi, Deborah Quickpen and Treasure Ebiakpo for the show of dexterity, explaining that the victory had further placed Bayelsa State as a sporting state.
Sir Wodi reminisced on how he encouraged Bomo Kigigha to become a champion in Chess, saying that Deborah’s success story was incomplete without the continuous support from her parents.
Also, convener of Team Deborah Quickpen, Mr Ada Gwegwe thanked the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Bayelsa State Sports Council for giving little Quickpen the enabling environment to flourish ,calling on the private sector to support her.
In an interview, Coach Bomo Kigigha said he sold his properties alongside his weeding ring to ensure that the lads travelled to Ghana to take part in the showpiece, pointing out that they went to the competition by road due to the non availability of funds.
He explained that three players took part in the annual Africa Youth championship in under ten, under thirteen and under fourteen but Deborah Quickpen stood out in the under ten category were she outperformed her Tunisian counterpart to emerge champion.
He thanked God for seeing them through throughout the tournament in Ghana attributing Deborah’s success to God and commitment.