It had all the makings of a high-intensity sport - action, drama, passion, uncompromising rivalry, near misses and spectacular hits. But the Mangalore regional round of The Hindu Young World Quiz ’09, which was held at Town Hall here on Friday, had none of the brawny jostling of conventional sport.

Instead, it was strictly a ‘brain-sport, where the best young minds from eight districts of Karnataka and North Kerala battled for supremacy. And unlike conventional sport, Friday’s quiz, where over 700 schoolchildren participated, had only winners when the final bell tolled.

While only a few of these winners went back with trophies, goody bags and other memorabilia, each of the people packed into Town Hall on Friday went back home with a bushel-full of fresh thoughts and unforgettable memories.

As is often the case in sport, the victors were clearly visible with a mile to go for the finishing line. Such was the lead built up by the team from St. Aloysius School in Kodialbail, comprising Prashant Bhat and Saandeepa T.N., that the final buzzer round titled ‘Shoot to Glory’ was a mere formality.

Going into the final round, Prashant and Saandeepa, who had named their team ‘Invincible Masterminds’, had a 40-point lead over their nearest rival, Lourdes Central School, Bejai. Since only 35 points were up for grabs in the Shoot to Glory round, the 40-point lead became insurmountable.

The only way the Invincible Masterminds could have lost was by calling incorrectly in the last round because of negative marking. But they played it safe and did not venture out to give their competitors even an outside chance of beating them.

“Though we knew some of the answers in the final round, we did not want to risk anything,” said Saandeepa. Asked about how they planned to prepare for the finals in Coimbatore, the duo said in chorus, “We are going to start preparing from tonight.”

Saandeepa said, “I have clippings of each and every The Hindu Young World Quiz column that has appeared in the last seven years and am going to go through these before reaching Coimbatore.” Prashant too seemed to be an avid reader of The Hindu and said, “I have clippings of important articles that have appeared in the newspaper over the last one year.”

Despite the fact that this duo left their rivals far behind on the day, it was not as if the other teams were no comparison to the boys from St. Aloysius. The first runners-up, Sanjan Prakash and Vaishnavi Satish from Lourdes Central School, Bejai, came up with some pretty spectacular answers.

The second runners-up, Sunil H.S. and Aditya P.K. from Kendriya Vidyalaya number 1, Panambur, tried to wage a valiant comeback in the final rounds and went home with their pride perfectly intact.

The highlight of the event was inarguably the audience. Their enthusiasm in answering the questions thrown to them as well as the fact that they stayed back until the last question was asked made the Mangalore regional round of The Hindu Young World Quiz ’09 an event to remember.

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