JUBA, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese chess officials said on Thursday the impressive performance that the team displayed at this year's Chess Olympiad will give them the impetus from which to build on.
Jada Albert Modi, president of South Sudan's Chess Federation, said the country could win more medals if the government invested in its youth.
South Sudan chess team beat 45 countries to emerge champions of the Group E contest and won its first ever gold medal during the 43rd Chess Olympiad which was held in Batumi, Georgia from Sept. 23 to Oct.6 which featured 1,667 participants from 180 nations and regions.
"There is great talent that the government should harness also as a way to involve the youth in meaningful ventures as well as to distract them from engaging in fighting," Modi said in relation to the armed conflicts that often erupt in the world's youngest nations and where the youth feature prominently.
Modi said as a result of the performance, Sudan will advance to Group D and Group C during the next chess tournament.
"We have a lot to offer to the world in the area of sports and if guided in the right direction, there is potential and much more that South Sudan can offer as opposed to what many have come to associate the country with," he said.
The competition marked South Sudan's second participation at Chess Olympiad having first vied in 2016 during the 42nd edition that was held in Baku, Azerbaijan where the team emerged empty-handed.
China won the gold medal in both the Open and women's events, the first time since 1986 that one country united the titles and the second nation to do so after the former Soviet Union.
Deng Sibriano, one of five players who represented South Sudan in Batumi, said they were group alongside players from South America, Europe and Africa.
"It was difficult to secure a win. We played 11 rounds and lost four games, drew three games and won four games," he said as he jovially showed Xinhua the gold medal they won.
He said although they played against strong opponents like Mexico, Columbia, Ireland, Scotland, and Yemen they managed to draw against Hong Kong, China and Kuwait among other teams and pointed out that talent, skills of calculating, patience, and good strategy and good planning are some of the qualities that earned them the distinction.
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