Local maths whizzes selected for Olympiad

JOHN HARVEY

No fewer than five pupils from Cape Town have been selected for the six-person South African team for the 57th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), which will take place in Hong Kong from Wednesday to Saturday, July 6 to 16.

Of those five, four pupils are based at schools in the southern suburbs – Westerford High School’s Sanjiv Ranchod and David Broodryk, Rondebosch Boys’ High School’s Andrew McGregor, and SACS’ Bronson Rudner.

For the first time in South African IMO history, the same team that participated in 2015 (as Grade 11 pupils) was selected again.

This will mean that they are more familiar with the type of questions that are asked at the IMO and have gained valuable experience.

In 2015, South Africa was ranked 55th in the IMO, having moved up by nine positions.

The Westerford boys’ teacher, Biddy Glenday, was thrilled about their achievement.

“Westerford High School is very proud to have two matric students selected to represent South Africa in the 2016 International Mathematics Olympiad. Sanjiv Ranchod and David Broodryk are no strangers to this team.

This is Sanjiv’s third year in the South Africa team, his first year being when the competition was hosted by South Africa in 2014. David joined him in the 2015 team that went to Thailand, and this year, they are off to Hong Kong,” she said.

“Organisations that run mathematics olympiads in South Africa do a wonderful job of identifying and developing these talented young mathematicians. The competition is tough and the material is challenging, but the incredible exposure these students receive is invaluable.”

Rondebosch Boys’ headmaster Shaun Simpson said it was the third time that Andrew had been selected for the international olympiad.

“Our top mathematicians participate in a number of competitions over the school year and Andrew has also featured in the UCT Mathematics Competition and the Mathematics Olympiad in his time at school,” he said.

Rondebosch Boys’ has a proud history of national representation in the mathematics field and can count among its alumni a number who have entered academia in the mathematics field and made strong contributions, including the Nobel prize winner, Allan Cormack. We are very proud of Andrew’s achievement and will watch his future progress with interest.”

Another Rondebosch pupil, Timothy Schlesinger (Grade 10), was part of the team that participated in the Pan African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO) in Senegal in April.

The South African team came out with flying colours, ending up as winners in both the overall competitions. At this event Timothy won a silver medal.

The team will be accompanied by Dr Dirk Basson (leader) and Phil Labushagne (deputy leader).

The competition dates as far back as 1959, when Romania hosted the first ever IMO.

Today, there are over 100 countries from five different continents that will be participating.

In this olympiad, questions testing advanced thinking skills are chosen from mathematical topics, including Geometry, Combinatorics, Number Theory and Algebra.