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Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Thursday, 24 July 2008 11:51 UK

Scrabble ace barred for age fraud

Scrabble shirt
Scrabble is Senegal's most successful sport.

A young Scrabble champion from Senegal has been stripped of his title at the Francophone World Championships for lying about his age, local media say.

Mamadou Youck had been named winner of the "blitz" competition for 14-15 year-olds before officials discovered he was 16, Senegal's APS news agency reports.

Scrabble, a board game in which players form words from single letter tiles, has become highly popular in Senegal.

In the "blitz" category, players have just one minute to complete each move.

The 37th Francophone Scrabble World Championships are taking place this week in Senegal's capital, Dakar.

The country's Sports Ministry, which accords Scrabble the same importance as football, has declared the competition a national priority.

About 600 competitors from 21 countries are participating.

Despite having a literacy rate of just 40%, Senegal's holds nine world titles in Scrabble.


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