By Hannah Hulme
While Team GB was training hard for the London 2012 Olympics, Manchester's University Challenge champions were gearing up for a different sort of games.
The team from the University of Manchester spent time in Tokyo this summer as part of the ‘Brain World Cup’, a unique international contest between sixteen of the world’s top universities, including Oxford, Harvard and Stanford.
The show’s producers visited the university campus to film scenes for the programme ahead of the big showdown, screened in Japan at the weekend.
Students Tristan Burke, Michael McKenna, Paul Joyce and Luke Kelly were also able to enjoy some all-expenses paid down time travelling in the country.
Speaking to MM, Tristan described the experience as ‘really exciting’ joking that he’s still waiting for the offers from other Japanese TV programmes to come rolling in.
“Japanese TV is made in a very different style to British TV. It was all a lot more laid back, and it was completely surreal to see Japanese celebrities discussing our performances on the set, including a member of Japan's most popular pop group!” he said.
“As for the experience of Japan itself, it was just wonderful, Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities I've been to and I can't wait to go back.”
More than 6 million viewers watched Manchester’s team perform brilliantly, making it to the semi-finals of the cup, before eventually losing out to Tokyo.
Tristan said: “I think we were happy just to be there, and getting to the semi-finals was very respectable. It would have been nice to win the money though!”
Producers of the show are hoping to syndicate the show to nations around the world in the future.
To view clips from the Brain World Cup, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6MB0dIDlDE.