Once again Sri Lanka triumphs at the International Mathematical Olympiad by winning one Bronze medal and an Honourable Mention certificate!!
Sri Lankan team led by Supun T. Samarakoon (Leader) and Mahishanka Withanachchi (Deputy Leader) came up with an excellent performance at the 53rd International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The International Mathematical Olympiad is an annual world championship in Mathematics for High School students. It was started in 1959 with only 7 countries, but over the years it has established itself as the most prestigious Mathematics competitions of the world.
This time there were 548 contestants from 100 countries and the competition was held in Mar del Plata, Argentina during July 4 – 16, 2012. Sri Lankan team was selected out of more than 4000 students who participated at the Sri Lankan Mathematics Senior Competition conducted in centres throughout the island including Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Anuradhapura. Forty students came through the Sri Lankan Mathematics Senior Competition and got selected to the Sri Lankan Mathematics Senior Challenge Competition. These students underwent more rigorous testing and training before four students were selected for the team. The team comprised of,
· Mevan Wijewardena (16) from Maliyadeva College,Kurunagela
· Aravinda Kanchana Ruwanpathirana (19) from Royal College, Colombo
· Isuru Damindha Manchanayaka (18) from Maliyadeva College,Kurunagela.
· Belpa Godage Chethana Chathuprabha (15) from Richmond College,Galle.
The final team of four students was given training
in a residential camp of fifteen days duration before they left to Mar del Plata, Argentina for the competition.
This year Republic of Korea came first with 209 points (6 Gold Medals), followed by People’s Republic of China with 195 points (5 Gold Medals and one Bronze Medal). Jeck Lim of Singapore won the first place with the perfect score of 42 which is a remarkable performance in this year’s IMO.
This time there were two Geometry problems, number five the hardest one. Our students have scored heavily in Geometry easy and medium problems in the past. Only Geometry is taught to some extent in our secondary school curriculum. The other areas of IMO problems, Number Theory, Algebra and Combinatorics, are not in our secondary school curriculum. Number Theory though is easy to learn and we have been able to get our students to do well in Number Theory at the IMO. But solving Algebra and Combinatorics problems has been very difficult to our students. But over the years, we at the Sri Lanka Olympiad Mathematics Foundation have been able to teach and build confidence in our students to solve these types of problems. This time, Mevan Niluminda Wijewardena from Maliyadeva College, Kurunagela completely solved a Geometry problem (number 1) and an Inequality problem (number 2), and won a Bronze medal. This is a milestone in our efforts over the last eight years, since the foundation was formed in 2004, to get our students to do well at the IMO. Especially with Mevan who is the youngest IMO Medal winner for Sri Lanka, the future of Sri Lankan performances in the IMO looks promising.
Isuru Damindha Manchanayaka from Maliyadeva College, Kurunagela missed the Bronze medal by just four points which he almost got there to the solution except the vital mistake he did.
There is no doubt that we can go a long way at the IMO. But it remains to see whether they have support from the society. It is hard to win Silver or Gold medals, but our students definitely have the mathematical talent required for that. In fact they have proved it this year by winning medals at such a small age. If IMO achievements are given due recognition in the local print and electronic media, it will be a huge boost in morale for the students to pursue the ultimate goal of winning a Gold Medal at the IMO. It will also be a chance for them to find sponsors since the team is funded by themselves, without the support of the government or the corporate sector. Without the additional burden of financing themselves, the students can focus themselves entirely to the IMO, thus getting them a proper training. The training for these students is done by volunteers from the Sri Lanka Mathematics Foundation whose untiring efforts have resulted in this success.
Once again we congratulate the Bronze Medal winning team, the four contestants, the Deputy Leader and the Leader and wish them a bright future in their careers.
Follow this link to see the results of the Sri Lankan team at the Official IMO site,
Sri Lanka Olympiad Mathematics Foundation