Muscat: 1,500 students representing nearly 85 schools will take part in the final round of qualifiers to decide the finalists of the Times of Oman and Shabiba quizzes.

The mega prelims for both the Times of Oman Interschool Quiz, and its Arabic counterpart, Shabiba’s Musabakat Bayn Madaris, has been postponed to Friday due to rains. Earlier, the mega prelims was scheduled to be held at Muscat College on Thursday.

“Fifty-four schools including Indian schools, international schools and bilingual Omani schools have confirmed their participation in the prelims and the mega-prelims, and about 28 schools have given us their team lists for the prelims and mega-prelims for the Arabic quiz,” said Ramesh Gopalan, the CEO of Orbit Events, the company that has organised the quiz in partnership with Muscat Media Group, the parent company for both Times of Oman, and its sister Arabic publication Al Shabiba.

“From each school, we have allowed five teams each to participate in the junior and senior categories of the mega prelims in English, and 10 each in the junior and senior categories for the Arabic mega prelims,” said Gopalan.

“We have more teams in the Arabic mega prelims, because the number of bilingual schools that want to participate in the Arabic quiz are not as many as those who want to participate in the English quiz, and this is also the first time that the Arabic quiz is taking place, so we wanted to encourage more participation and invite the maximum number of students to experience this quiz.”

“We expect about 1,500 students to take part in the English and Arabic prelims that will be held on Friday,” he added.

“The mega-prelims are taking place tomorrow at Muscat College. The first set of prelims begins at 9am, and registrations open at 7:30am. The English and Arabic rounds will run parallel to each other. We should have the results by 4pm, because the rounds end by about 1pm.”

A number of sponsors have signed up to support the quizzes, which will be held at the City Amphitheatre in Qurum this weekend. While the Times of Oman Interschool Quiz will be held on Friday, Al Shabiba’s Musabakat Bayn Madaris will be on Saturday. Gates open at 5pm for both events, with the quiz beginning at 6:30pm. Sponsors include Mazoon Dairy, Omantel, Akeed, BEC, Muscat College, NMC Healthcare, Spar Hypermarket, and many others.

“Our team has really worked very hard and we are very delighted with the support that the Omani and bilingual schools have given us, with the faith and enthusiasm that they have shown in this programme,” said Ramesh Gopalan.

“The students have taken group photos of the children in the school holding the Arabic and English quiz posters in their hands, and this is coming to us on social media.

“Such a thing has not even happened with the Indian is the Omani and the bilingual schools that are sharing these with us,” he added.

“That’s a big win, if you look at the whole event...we have been able to instil such a lot of enthusiasm and passion in the children who want to take part in this quiz. This shows that we have really come a long way.”

Eight school teams each from the junior and senior sections will make it through to the final of the English quiz, and a similar number will take part in the Arabic finals as well. Several Omani and bilingual schools will also be participating in the English quiz.

“We have about 22 or 23 schools taking part in both the English and Arabic quizzes, while only five or six schools are taking part in the Arabic quiz alone,” explained Gopalan. “The 54 schools taking part in the English quiz include 20 of the 28 teams taking part in the Arabic quiz. There are about 30 Indian and international schools.

“Several prizes will have also been allocated for audience participation. We have created different awards for the audience,” he added. “These include prizes such as the largest crowd-puller award, the best answer award, the best cheering school award, and many others that we have brought in to make the event quite interactive. We look forward to this event and everyone is welcome.”

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