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YOUNG UTAHN HOPES TO ZAP COMPETITION AT NINTENDO WORLD CONTEST IN JAPAN

A seventh-grader from Hillcrest Junior High is heading to Japan this week to compete in the Nintendo World Championship.

Jeff Hansen, 12, who won the U.S. championship in 1990, will compete on the Japanese Television show "Super Club Mario" Fridayagainst a player who has already beaten the competition playing the game Yoshi. Whoever scores the most points in the allotted time period will be declared the world champion.Jeff says he has been practicing for weeks. He's been playing Super Mario World, Pilot Wings and a racing game called F-Zero for about four hours every day. The three games will be part of the contest.

How'd he get so good at Nintendo? "I just play it a lot," he said.

Does that make his parents angry? "After I won (the U.S. championship) it didn't."

Jeff started his venture into the world of video games at age 6 when he got a Coleco Vision. He liked that so much that his parents bought him a Nintendo . . . and the rest is history.

"I'm really excited," said Jeff, adding that despite tough competition, he thinks he can win. "After I get done with the championship, I have eight more days of seeing Japan."

Jeff's parents Karen and Alma Hansen will accompany him. Nintendo is paying for the trip.