Muscat: Sheer enthusiasm among the participants in Oman is something that has given the Times of Oman Open Quiz Contest (TOOOQC) a special stature. Like every year there has been an overwhelming response to this much-awaited contest.
And this year too, on the inaugural day of the 16th edition of the contest, 155 teams (with three members per team) will battle it out at the preliminary round of the contest at the Indian School Muscat's new multipurpose hall to make it to the finals of the Times of Oman Open Quiz Contest.
"Every time the quizzing community grows, it is a very humble feeling for the quizmaster. I must also say that the growth reflects the efforts of the organisation that is hosting the quiz contest," says quizmaster Giri 'Pickbrain' Balasubramaniam. The top eight teams from the 155 will qualify for the finals to be held on Friday evening at the City Amphitheatre.
This year, the TOOOQC is going to be just an 'Open Final' with no specific 'School Round'.
According to the quizmaster Giri 'Pickbrain' Balasubramaniam, "The big game changer with the introduction of the school quiz is the fact that it is now purely an open quiz. It would have made teams to take a relook at some combinations while the school kids will raise their benchmarks to battle on a level playing field."
Pickbrain, who is known for his unique style of quizzing, promises "edge of the seat excitement" this time too. "My team and I are certainly looking at creating a distinct difference between the open quiz format and research and the exclusive school quiz which will follow in April," he says.
Like it has been every year with the Times of Oman Open Quiz Contest, sponsors who are the support system of any show, have shown a great response this time too. The Times of Oman Annual Open Quiz Contest is presented by Samsung and is powered by Citizen.
The major sponsor is Centrepoint. The co-sponsors are Al Mudhish, Sohar Aluminium and Jindal Shadeed.
The official airline is Oman Air while the official host is Al Falaj Hotel and the official rent-a-car service is provided by Sixt.
The venue sponsors are Oasis Water, National Investment Funds Company, Modern Exchange Co and Sapil.
The quizzing audience of Muscat, who take a lot of time to prepare for this quiz given the fact that it is open, all have a lot to take away from the quiz.
Besides audience prizes, through a raffle draw they can win Samsung 40" LED TV Series 6000 from SARCO, Citizen Eco Drive watch, Oman Air ticket, Laptop from HP and other prizes. Unlike last year the teams participating in TOOOQC will not be allowed to use their cellphones and Internet-connected gadgets to find answers.
"We have always been responsive to the views and feedback from contestants and based on this we will not allow any of the teams to use phones or gadgets. Ideally, we would like the teams to not bring it into the prelims venue at all," said Giri 'Pickbrain' Balasubramaniam.