SA has taken second place at the 28th pan-African Mathematical Olympiad (PAMO), with the team receiving two gold, one silver and two bronze medals.
SA matriculant from St Peter’s College, Yi Lou, took second place out of 60 participants, and received a gold medal.
Six young South African mathematicians took part in the year’s virtual event, in which 11 countries participated.
Tyrone Kasi, a grade 12 pupil from St Stithians Boys’ College, also received a gold medal for his joint third place.
Prof Kerstin Jordaan, the executive director at the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF), congratulated the team for their excellent performance and applauded the team leaders, Dylan Nelson and Lauren Denny, for their hard work and dedication to get the team prepared for the competition.
“We are incredibly proud of the South African team’s performance,” said Jordaan.
Alex Sinclair-Smith, a grade 11 pupil from Westerford High School, was the second-best out of the 27 female participants. She finished in joint overall sixth place and received a silver medal.
The other South African team members were Shelby le Roux (17th, bronze medal), a grade 11 pupil from Rustenburg Girls’ High School, Minkyum Kim (25th, bronze medal), a grade 10 pupil from Reddam House, Durbanville, and Daniella Kaye (33rd), a grade 10 pupil from Herschel Girls’ High School.
The SAMF Olympiad programmes for high school learners such as SA’s participation in the PAMO and the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), as well as the South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) are sponsored by Old Mutual and the South African Institute for Chartered Accountants (Saica).
Celiwe Ross, human capital director at Old Mutual, said the results were exceptional.
“These results are exceptional, and they reaffirm our commitment to support the work of the South African Mathematics Foundation. Hearty congratulations to the learners, their teachers and team leaders on these great results,” said Ross.
Jordaan said one of the SAMF’s goals is to expose mathematically gifted pupils to international competitions.
“A committee chooses the South African international teams from the top-performing learners in the previous year’s SAMO and other results of the SAMF Olympiad programmes. That means that the top learners who participate in this year’s SAMO, of which the third and final round is in July, stand a chance to be selected for next year’s PAMO.” Jordaan said.
She said the pandemic had made participation in the host country impossible.
“But each country’s team (consisting of three boys and three girls) came together at a central location and participated virtually under close supervision from the host country’s leaders,” Jordaan said.