Muscat: 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the World Scholars’ Cup and this year a record 500 school students participated in the first-ever global round to be held in Cape Town, South Africa. FaarisKukkadi, IsmatQayum, and Matthew Reddy,from the British School in Muscat, are the also the first-ever representatives of the Sultanate to enter the competition, that attracts the best and brightest students from across the globe.
The three young scholars came overall second to a Chinese team in Cape Town last week, which qualifies them for the Tournament of Champions, to be held at Yale University in Connecticut, USA, from 9 to 14 November 2017. The Omani team are hotly tipped as overall global finalists as they had already been highly successful in the Middle East regional rounds, winning forty medals and seven trophies between them, including a clean sweep of the top three scholars. As Matthew Reddy put it: "I really didn't think it was possible to stretch the brain this far, but we did it and hopefully we’ll make our country Oman proud.”
The South African competition was structured in rounds for debating, collaborative writing, an individual Scholar’s Challenge quiz, and the Scholars Bowl – a classic team quiz with buzzers.Sixth form student, IsmatQayum, said: "I've never been so academically challenged; I especially enjoyed the debating round as we could really showcase our public speaking abilities.”
“We were delighted to support Oman’s team at the World Scholars’ Cup this year and are immensely proud of what they have achieved for their country,” said Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of SOHAR Port. He explained: “At SOHAR,we are all aboutworking smarter - look at our upcoming Innovation Zone, for example, it will create its own energy and recycle its own waste, using proven and trustworthy techniques brought together in one integrated system to demonstrate the full potential of Oman’s technology sector.”
Despite all the hard work and personal dedication, there were also some less serious challenges to work through last week. This included a scavenger hunt with scholars from the other teams around the beautiful Victoria and Albert Waterfront in Cape Town, one of the inspirations for the new Sultan Qaboos port redevelopment in Muscat, that will create a vibrant, new tourism hub in the Omani capital. "I've made new friends from 32 countries,” said FaarisKukkadi smiling, and continued: “I had to get used to the cold weather here in Cape Town, compared to 40°c back home, but the warmth of the people in South Africa has been truly amazing."