The third week of January is a week like no other for the rotaractors of RACALBS. From the meticulous organization and execution by the organizing committee and the careful preplanning by many of our participants, Conquer Colombo is by far one of the most anticipated and hyped events of the Rotaract calendar. Setting the bar higher than ever before, Conquer Colombo 2019 was back with more new twists and challenges of all forms be it eating challenges, mind challenges and even Augmented Reality. This grand scale project involving almost 500 participants was initiated with the motive of aiding of the club’s major community service project “Project Life”. This project targets at combatting Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in several affected communities in Kebithigollawa in the North Central Province by aiding for the building of Rainwater harvesting systems. Since its inauguration in 2013, Conquer Colombo has been more than successful in aiding project life along with providing a unique experience to its participants.
This year’s conquer Colombo bore the theme of “Monopoly” which amalgamated the concepts of the much-beloved board game of Monopoly into this year’s event. Shifting CC paradigms every year, this year’s event included the opportunity for participants to do 3 optional challenges in addition to the traditional 4 core challenges which was a first in CC history. The difficulty of the 3 optional challenges was color-coded as Blue for the hardest challenges, Yellow for medium and brown for the easiest challenges. This was in line with the monopoly element where the price valuations of properties are in the same respective order with blue having most expensive properties such as Mayfair and Piccadilly. Monopoly was further embedded with the inclusion of “Spin the Wheel” at challenge intersections through which participants would be able to draw chance and community chest cards. These cards acted as power ups which either empowered or even worsened the dynamics of each teams’ game. Every choice mattered in this year’s CC where the teams weighed in the opportunity cost of selecting which level of difficulty of an optional challenge to select, whether the option was cost-effective in terms of the monopoly cash they were to spend, the most time effective routes to take etc. All these factors added in glamour and spice to Conquer Colombo 2019 and truly shifted the metrics of this year’s competition.
The event kickstarted with variety of small entertainment items by a few of the participants as the crowd started registering at Race Course in the morning. As a first-time spectator\organizer at this event, it was amazing for me to see the heightened excitement of what’s to come by both veteran CC participants to the first-timers alike. The highlight of the morning which had everyone chortling over was when the team “Banda forced us to come” drove in a car campaigning for our much beloved COMSERV Director Sandaru a.k.a. Banda’s presidential run for 2020.
Following a very eventful morning, the much-awaited race kickstarted at 11.30 with the throwing of the dice. This was followed by a literal stampede of participants racing to their respective stalls to obtain their first clue sheet to the challenge locations. With much frantic confusion and excitement, teams were rushing at every direction to reach their rides and to figure out where to head first. As a first-time challenge head at pearl harbor challenge located at subway fort, I was definitely was in for a big surprise when hordes of frantic participants rushed into the venue too eager to get started with the challenge. It was a quite a challenge for us challenge heads and volunteers both the new and experienced to handle and accommodate the flash mob like crowds, but as time went we got the hang of it and ran our challenges pretty smoothly. With the last team signing at our table (whom we, unfortunately, had to turn away as they were in the wrong challenge location), we had felt a great rush of relief and also a bit of sadness as we knew Conquer Colombo was almost over for us. It goes without saying that this year’s CC was truly an experience to remember for both the participants and organizers alike.
The closing ceremony capped off one of the greatest events of the Rotaract calendar on a high note. It started off with the commencement of the raffle draw which is one of the more awaited events during Conquer Colombo. Winners walked away with gift baskets and a variety of exciting gift vouchers. Up next came the awards for best themed, funkiest ride, Supermen and wonder women. Last but not the least, the top fifteen teams of Conquer Colombo 2019 were awarded a variety of exciting prizes from gift baskets to vouchers. Team “Bebaddo” came in third and received a variety of amazing prizes along with an opportunity for an overnight stay at Udawatte Kele forest lodge. Team 2 fast 2 furious came onto take the number 2 spot of this year’s Conquer Colombo winning an overnight stay at Jetwing hotel along with other exciting prizes. National List topped the point list of this year’s event with a total points of to be crowned champions of Conquer Colombo 2019 securing return air tickets to Jakarta, Indonesia among other exciting prizes.
This year’s challenges gave a new experience to our participants which most have never experienced before or wouldn’t experience anywhere else. Regardless of whether our participants managed to break into the top 15 or not, without any doubt, everyone left with a feeling of satisfaction and eagerness to look forward to this event again next year. From deciphering road directions using Augmented reality posters, mind boggling mind challenges such as the bomb challenge to blindfolded cupcake challenges, Conquer Colombo 2019 was definitely not a day to miss. Setting the bar higher than ever before, CC 2019 left quite the mark on the Rotaract calendar and leaving us with the anticipation of an even more awe-inspiring event next year.
Rtr. Asel Gunaratne
(Image sourse: Impulse Inc. )