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October 29, 2013

Subaru Challenge 2013: No Signs of Giving Up on Day 3

In the most dramatic event to-date, The MediaCorp Subaru Challenge 2013 – The Asian Face-Off, now in its 12th year, entered its third day, seeing more than half the remaining number of contestants dropping out, with another local contestant being pulled out of the arena on a wheelchair after fainting last night.

As of the 49-hour mark of the challenge, a total of 52 contestants – 35 local and 17 regional - are still in the running for the top prize of a Subaru car as they face off at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza.

Amongst the survivors is local contestant Ang Wee Long, who participates in the Challenge for the first time. Setting his eye on the grand prize, he showed no sign of giving up despite the physical exhaustion he is experiencing.

“It has been a very long night and I’m starting to feel uncomfortable with the lack of sleep and food. I’m not going to let this stop me from lasting through the game though. I’m here to win,” said the 18-year-old, who is also one of the youngest contestants in the Challenge.

Despite knowing what he had signed up for, the first-time contestant who decided to participate in the Challenge on his own accord, shared that he had not made any preparations for the endurance test. “I’ve read about what people do to train themselves for this, but I wasn’t sure where to start,” he continued.

Contestants this year are reported to be tougher and better prepared, according Senior Paramedic Eugene Yang. A Facebook page called the Subaru Challenge had been created by enthusiasts and past contestants to provide a support group and platform for new contestants as they start conditioning themselves for the Challenge.

“Some of the tips that the experienced participants shared on the page include supporting their fellow challengers from the same car and cheering each other on from the start till the 48th hour. For those lasting longer than that, it is important to have friends and family around supporting them as they race to the end,” said the experienced paramedic team member from Comfort Ambulance, who has been supporting the event every year since it first started in 2002.

Regional contestants from Vietnam are proving to be the most resilient on the third day, with the least number of eliminations to-date. Half of the Philippines team have since dropped out overnight, leaving them as the second strongest team so far.

Other regional contestants who still face the chance of winning include three Malaysian contestants, and one contestant from Cambodia, Taiwan and Thailand respectively.

For the second time in the Challenge’s 12-year history, the Challenge was suspended for 66 minutes during the thunderstorm that occurred at the 50 hour mark. The wet weather had provided relief for the remaining contestants as they were permitted to move away from the cars to take shelter within the vicinity of Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza.

Event organizers announced that the Category 1 lightning meant that the event grounds were not safe for the contestants to be left outdoors. While this meant that the digital clock was paused to allow contestants to seek shelter at the tentage of the arena, contestants were still required to observe the other rules of the game and were not allowed to eat, sleep nor sit down to rest.

This was the longest interruption throughout the history of the Challenge. The first time a similar scenario occurred was in 2008, when contestants were allowed to take shelter for 46 minutes on the second day as thunderstorm occurred.

After confirming that it was safe, event organisers resumed the Challenge at 5.40pm. Contestants were instructed to return to the arena at as they looked forward to the six-hourly break at 7.00pm.

Past the 55-hour mark of the challenge, 32 contestants remain – 20 local and 12 regional – as they battle it out into the third night of the Challenge.

The last contestants from Hong Kong, Indonesia and China have officially been eliminated. Yeung Cheung Chiu from Hong Kong (lasting 40 hours), Sultan Muhammad Syah from Indonesia (lasting 43 hours) and Tan Junlin from China (lasting 49 hours) are walking away with the title of Country Winner from their respective teams and a cash prize of S$1,000 each.

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.

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