The Royal Challengers Fanatic Fan Challenge - 2 in M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore was everything, you'd associate with Royal Challengers. It was big, grand, glamorous, and had an atmosphere of achievers and challengers as 33 of the best bloggers, photographers, podcasters and videographers from the country competed against each other for the top honor of traveling with the RCB team for the next six weeks.
The event was pitted to start at 11 sharp, but as it is the case in India it was delayed, but once the event got underway, there was absolutely no turning back. The event kick started with the Royal Challengers anthem played, and the host explaining the contestants what exactly they were to do.
The photographers and videographers were taken to the NCA (National Cricket Academy) ground, where the seven prospects shortlisted in the 'Future Challengers' campaign along with few other players were being auditioned as coach Ray Jennings and few other support staff inspected. Their assignment was to cover the event. Siddharth Mallya (Dr. Mallaya's son) soon joined the coach and together they had a look at the prospects. While all this was going on the photographers and videographers moved in and surrounded the ground clicking and videotaping the action unfolding. It was simply amazing! During practice the new pink balls were used. The sight was simply amazing as photographers, and videographers captured the scene behind their tripod stands or by simply crouching on the grass, while the players warmed up and had some fielding drills.
The bloggers were all taken to the press box, from where they had to write a blog and also edit the given article. As the bloggers typed on their lap tops, a second division match was taking place at the stadium.
The podcasters were asked to create an audio podcast on one of the two topics they were provided with.
The contestants were given 75 minutes, to prepare their respective assignments. After this followed a big lunch that was truly delicious.
Soon after the lunch, the interviews started. The four judges were Anil Kumble, Ray Jennings, Sabit Bal and Siddharth Mallya. Anil Kumble is the skipper of RCB and Ray Jennings is the coach. Sambit Bal is an editor in Cricinfo. They asked the contestants various questions testing their expertise on the subject, loyalties towards RCB and their passion. The interviews were full of events with numerous happenings - both good and bad. The contestants were of mixed feelings. Some were calm while others were sweating a flood, as they waited in anticipation for their turns and the results.
After the interview round there was a brief game. The game was a trivia, testing the fans their knowledge about RCB and also T20 cricket. The first place winner was Aneesh Surendar, little did he know something bigger was in store for him. The second place went to none other than the writer of this article.
The time of the announcement of the results came, and the competitors, organizers, fans, and reporters broke into applause and cheering as the Captain of RCB followed by the coach, Sambit Bal, and the owner of RCB. Kumble started the proceedings by giving a small speech about the fan club and then went to announce the Chief Photographer. The Chief Photographer for 2010 is Ashish Parmar. After this Mallaya announced the Cheif Podcaster - Radio Sandeep. Sambit Bal gave away the blogging honors to Aneesh Surender and Sandeep M bagged the videographer honors from Ray Jennings.
The four winners get to travel with the team for the next 6 weeks and I'm sure they'll do a splendid job for Club RCB.
After the results were announced, a few photos were clicked and the fans started to mingle with the judges and talk to them and get their autographs. As the event drew to a close, it was a time to catch up with friends and bid adieu.
I also bid adieu saying Go Challengers! Best of luck in IPL 2010!
* To see more pictures click here.