Loyola School, Thiruvananthapuram is the national champion; Kochi's Rajagiri Public School comes second

No sooner did the last question flash on the screen, quick fingers grabbed the buzzer and the words ‘versions of need for speed game' were jotted down quickly. The few seconds of hushed silence were broken by the quiz master: “We have the new Champion. It's Thiruvananthapuram…”

After that nail-biting finish, Ajay A. Kumar and R. Rajath of the Loyola School in Thiruvananthapuram were crowned the national champions at the finals of The Hindu Young World Quiz 2011, here on Monday.

Top honours

The Hindu Young World Quiz 2011, an initiative under The Hindu's Newspaper in Education (NiE) programme, had around 20,000 students from 5,000 schools participating in 16 centres across southern India. The finals saw six teams battling for the top honours. These teams were selected through two semi-final events in which 16 regional winners competed.

Team Loyola, which had come first in the regional finals and the semi-finals, were slow off the blocks. Leading the pack till the very last question were George M. Thottan and Arshad Muhammed from the Rajagiri Public School in Kochi.

The turning point came when the contestants were asked, “what are underground, carbon, Shift, Nitro, World, Hot pursuit (2010), the run (latest from November 15) a non-exhaustive list of --.” Hardly had the quiz master spoken than the buzzer in front of Team Loyola sounded. The audience waited with bated breath to see whether the team's answer was correct. A few seconds later, the audience collectively leapt to its feet. Cheering and applauding with gusto was the Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor. His ‘home team' were now the national champions.

The second runners-up were R. Guru Pharshane and R. Avinaash of the Petit Seminaire, Puducherry.

‘Tip of the tongue'

Quiz master V.V. Ramanan's carefully crafted questions from a wide range of topics had the participants racking their brains. From identifying famous personalities to remembering dates, the answers to many of the questions often seemed to be ‘at the tip of the tongue.' But, then, the trick was to get it right, and get it right on time.

Speaking during the prize distribution ceremony, a beaming Mr. Tharoor pointed out that quizzing would help build well-rounded persons. “I seem to have brought them [the winning team] luck,” he quipped. He congratulated the six finalists and distributed trophies. He handed over the keys of the Tata Nano cars to the champions.

The champions also took home a cash prize of Rs. 50,000. The teams that came second and third got Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 30,000 respectively. The other three finalists got Rs. 10,000 in addition to prizes.

Sponsers

The title sponsors for the event was the Chennai-based Velammal Education Trust. The associate sponsors were Extramarks and Indian Overseas Bank.

The national sponsors were Black Thunder, Reynolds, Gold Winner, Funfills, Amway, Success, Firefox, Cricket Caricatures, Maggi Noodles, Wilco Picture Library, Penguin Books, and the Vizag Steel Plant. The water sponsor was Bisleri. The car sponsor was Tata Nano. The beverage sponsor was Real. The regional sponsors were Noorul Islam Civil Service Academy (NICS), Windsor Rajadhani Hotel, the Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation, Style Plus, Babas - the Complete Photo Studio, Supreme Nutrifud, and Mahindra Holidays. Cosmos Tours & Travels was the logistics partner. The hospitality sponsors were Hotel South Park and Hotel Horizon. The event manager was I ads & Events.

The 4th position was taken by Harsha Vettam and Anshuman Karthik of Chirec Public School, Hyderabad. The 5th position went to Preetham Upadhya and K.N. Bharath Rao of Sharada Vidyalaya, Mangalore and the 6th position was taken by S. Mohammmed Shahul and K.M. Niharika of Camford English High School, Tirupati.