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TWO young Indian students stole the show at the island's big school contest which featured one of television's most charismatic quiz masters.
The New Millennium School pupils Pratyush Mishra, 13, from Hoora, and Anand Ravindran, 11, from Budaiya, were declared winners of the Mothercare Inter-School Quiz Contest 2008 at the Al Ahli Club's indoor stadium on Thursday night.
The dynamic duo won the competition with a comfortable lead of 10 points over runners-up Asian School.
The four other schools in the fray were St Christopher's School, Sacred Heart School, New Indian School and Indian School who were ranked respectively. The young champions will now represent Bahrain at the Bournvita International Quiz Contest to be held in the east Indian city of Kolkata later this year.
Ecstatic at their victory, Pratyush said: "We went with an attitude to win. We were slightly nervous in the beginning knowing the expectations of our parents, friends and teachers."
And, Anand added: "Derek O'Brien was a fantastic quiz master who made the atmosphere lively and helped us relax throughout the contest."
Both students, who are among the top students in their classes, are avid readers who enjoy keeping themselves updated about current affairs.
Their team working skills and ability to complement each other's talents were the key ingredients of this success.
Anand explained: "I like social sciences particularly history and am fascinated with the complexity and quality of the Indian constitution. I keep myself updated about international politics and current affairs by reading two newspapers from the Gulf and one from India. I play tennis, am passionate about music and follow cricket and great leaders while Pratyush is very good at sciences. He enjoys playing computer games and football, reading science fiction and the encyclopaedia and has experience of participating in very competitive quizzes before."
Last year, Pratyush was one of the eight finalists in the Signal e-Quiz 2007, Dubai, where he was competing against 20,000 online quiz enthusiasts. He said: "I wish the quiz here was longer and had more rapid fire questions."
The winners also credit their teachers for having devoted every free hour at school to preparing the students for the contest.
Pratyush, a keen physics student who hopes to send someone to space one day, said: "Every free class in the last three weeks was spent reading books by Mr O'Brien, updating ourselves on the Oscars, the Grammies, Nobel prize winners, current affairs, US Votes and holding a mock quiz to help us get ready for the final day.
"However, you cannot just study for a quiz contest. You have to be a keen observer, with your ears and eyes always open and with an ability to think on your feet at all the right moments."