Now with all 46 contestants accounted for, let me trot out my Leaderboard:
TOP CONTENDERS: INDIA, DENMARK, SCOTLAND
SHOO-INS: AUSTRIA, MALTA, ENGLAND, MEXICO
LIKELIEST: JAPAN, KENYA, SOUTH AFRICA, SWEDEN, CURACAO, EL SALVADOR, GERMANY, ITALY, IRELAND, PERU, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, SPAIN,
TALENT FACTOR: HONDURAS
INTERVIEW FACTOR: CANADA, CHINA
EXCELLENT: COSTA RICA, GREECE, MALAYSIA, NICARAGUA, ARGENTINA, NIGERIA, WALES, BRAZIL, GUADELOUPE, KOREA, MOLDOVA, PANAMA, SWITZERLAND
VERY STRONG: GHANA, NORTHERN IRELAND, SRI LANKA, BULGARIA, ROMANIA, FRANCE
STRONG: BOLIVIA, NEPAL, UNITED STATES
Now, here is my “Fearful” Forecast:
TOP FIVE: AUSTRIA, INDIA, DENMARK, MALTA, SCOTLAND
TOP TEN: SOUTH AFRICA, ENGLAND, MEXICO, PHILIPPINES, POLAND
BUBBLING UNDER; JAPAN, KENYA, SWEDEN, CURACAO, EL SALVADOR, GERMANY, ITALY, IRELAND, PERU, PUERTO RICO, SPAIN
STRIKING DISTANCE: CANADA, COSTA RICA, GREECE, MALAYSIA, NICARAGUA, ARGENTINA, NIGERIA, WALES, BRAZIL, CHINA, GUADELOUPE, HONDURAS, KOREA, MOLDOVA, PANAMA, SWITZERLAND
The final roster of 46 equals the previous edition. If an Asian host is willing, I have a strong feeling this pageant’s roster will expand. Some people may grouse that publicity seemed minimal, that it relied on the contestants themselves to drum up publicity in social media, but well, it’s a struggle we all know too well. Also I noticed the schedule seems too abbreviated, and I think they are not able to stage as many sports events as they could have (no track or swimming, I observed).
Still, I enjoy witnessing the camaraderie that is forged amongst these extraordinary gentlemen, and that, I think, is a key opportunity they can tap for growth. Hope they have a better mechanism in place for future editions of this pageant.
I originally pegged this as a two-way battle between India (Rohit Khandelwal) and Denmark (Rasmus Pedersen), but Scotland (Tristan Cameron Harper) joined in the fray and his phenomenal feats at the athletic challenges may be the key for him to overtake the two perceived front-runners. Anyway, best of luck to these amazing gentlemen and may the best man prevail.