Monday, October 29, 2012

Heat, Humidity Take Toll on Subaru Challenge Participants; Contestants Down to 80


The heat and humidity ignited the fighting spirit in contestants today at Asia’s biggest endurance challenge.

As an added incentive to spur the contestants on, organizers declared an additional cash prize of S$5000 for the second place winner.

As the contest entered its second night, in what is expected to be an arduous face-off to win the top prize, 80 contestants remain, with 30 from the regional teams and 50 from Singapore.

Among the nine regional teams taking part, the contestants from Vietnam proved to be the toughest, standing strong with only one dropout in more than 30 hours at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza in the MediaCorp Subaru Challenge 2012 – The Asian Face-Off, now in its 11th year.

Vying to win a Subaru car, the Vietnamese team’s strategy is to stay strong as a team for as long as possible. “We prepared ourselves by keeping healthy in the weeks leading up to the challenge. We made a pact to stay in the competition for at least 50 hours, ” said Vietnamese constant, Vu Linh.

Mr Glenn Tan, Executive Director, Tan Chong International Ltd said, “The Vietnamese team is storming ahead, showing amazing endurance despite the intense heat. If they continue at this pace, it is possible that we may see a regional winner for the first time in the challenge’s history.”

The extreme heat proved too much for local favourite, five-time competition veteran, 53-year-old Abdul Hamid Bin Jonid, also known as ‘Kacang’ who dropped out in the afternoon of the second day. He came in second place twice (in 2007 and 2010) and last year (2011) came in third, dropping out in the afternoon of the second day.

Commenting on the lack of rain so far, Ho Ho Huat, 42-year-old local swimming instructor and seven-time challenger said, “It is very hot compared to other years. I didn’t expect this intensity as it rained during previous years and so far we haven’t seen a drop. It was so hot and humid even at night, I felt like I was going to faint last night.”

To provide much needed relief from the hot weather, the contestants were awarded a bonus five-minute break at 4pm where they were allowed one cup of water and bathroom break.

Besides vying for the grand prize, regional contestants - from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam - are also competing for three additional titles and cash prizes. The title of Country Winner will go to the last standing representative from each country, with a cash prize of S$1,000.  The last-standing regional contestant will be named Asian Winner and walk away with S$5,000 in cash. The Country Team Winner title – with a cash prize of S$10,000, will be awarded to the country that achieves the longest combined standing time (the total time of all 10 representatives from the same country).

This year saw the first break extended from five minutes for a further 11 seconds to mark the 11th anniversary.

And for the very first time in the history of the Challenge, the last 11 contestants will be awarded a “Wild Card”, where they can choose from a list of items, such as a drink or a burger. This will change the dynamics of the challenge, as contestants will need to strategise how they will use the “Wild Card” to their best advantage. 

For more information and updates, please visit the official website at www.xinmsn.com/carchallenge2012.

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