|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
Two local contestants were disqualified from the competition after they failed to return to their positions at car five, following the 7pm family break. The pair disputed the judgment, but the Challenge marshals verified they were not in place before the final call.
A total of 119 contestants dropped out of the competition in the first seven hours, leaving 281 still in with a chance of winning a Subaru car.
Of the eliminated contestants, 113 came from the 310-strong Singapore contingent while another six were from the 90 contestants from the nine regions.
Cloudier conditions in the mid to late afternoon offered contestants some respite from the heat, while the evening brought heavy showers, as participants from Singapore, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam struggled to keep their palm on one of ten Subaru Imprezas stationed at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza.
Of the remaining hopefuls, a family consisting of father, mother and daughter, returned this year for the chance of winning the grand prize. This is the fourth time father Rustam Onn Bin Abdullah, 36, has taken part in the competition, and the third time for his wife Rozita, 42, and daughter Syafawani, 20.
“As a family we love taking part in sporting activities together and are all keen joggers and also love to play football. This year I think we stand a really good chance. I have already achieved my personal goal of staying in the competition past the 7pm break, so I am already off to a very good start and look forward to setting a new personal best.”
Despite the day’s drama, the Challenge’s oldest contestant, 69-year-old Ms Vivien Tan, who entered the contest for the sixth time this year, has stayed positive throughout.
“I am back this year, not to win, but instead to show support to all the contestants who have turned out for the 12th year of the competition. The Challenge is always hard work, however through showing support for one another we can all benefit. I don’t expect to stay in for long this year, but will do my best to encourage others while I do.” said Ms Tan.
In addition to being eligible for this year’s grand prize, a Subaru Forester 2.0i Premium worth S$85,000 (without COE), regional contestants will also compete for additional titles and cash prizes. The title of Country Winner and a cash prize of S$1,000 will be awarded to the final standing representative of each country. The last standing regional contestant will win the Asian Winner title and walk away with an additional S$5,000 cash. The country or region whose participants have the longest combined standing time, will be awarded the Country Team Winner title along with a cash prize of S$10,000 to be equally divided among the team.
For the first time in the history of the competition, and to mark the 12th year of the Challenge, contestants will stand a chance to win a prize every 12 hours they remain in the game. Prizes include lifestyle vouchers, an Osim uAngel massage cushion, a GPS Navigation System, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.0 and more.