13-year-old Filipino aces international math contest
MANILA, Philippines – A 35-member Philippine team reigned in the recent 2018 International Junior Math Olympiad (IJMO) at Pan-Asia International School in Bangkok, Thailand.
Filipino student Shawn Darren Chua, 13, was the lone perfect scorer in the competition.
Chua is an 8th grader from MGC New Life Christian Academy. He is also among 5 Filipino students who topped 5 out of 9 levels in the IJMO – an international math competition of around 600 students from 16 countries, held from July 27 to 31 this year.
Chua's love for math began in kindergarten, when he was picked to compete in a local contest.
"Math is very interesting because lots of things in this world can be explained by it. Do you know that even the things in nature like snail shells, flower petals, and hurricanes, among others, all follow the Golden Ratio?" Chua said.
With the guidance of his dad, he actively joined many local and international competitions.
"I believe training is a lifelong process. Just like any other athlete, I train not for a specific contest, but to improve my craft, and in the process, I become better at it," Chua said.
While Chua has competed in international math competitions before, the 2018 IJMO was his first time going abroad with only his elder brother, who also competed in the same competition.
His mother Eunice Chua said: "More than anything, we believe our support counts most emotionally. During those times when they'd rather play than practice, those times when they feel dog-tired from catching up with missed schoolwork, those times when they didn't do well and lose — we give them a pat on the back to let them know it's okay and to just push on."
Topping the IJMO was a big deal for Chua. "It makes the other countries realize that the Philippines is not only good in music and boxing, but also in math and maybe many other things," said Chua. (READ: 7-year-old Filipino math whiz shows amazing skills in 'Little Big Shots')
Jose Lorenzo Abad, a 9th grader from Philippine Science High School and one of the other 5 Filipino champions, agreed. "Being number one in IJMO showed that Filipinos are not only competitive in math. It shows that we can dominate and become champions if we work hard and set our goals."
Aside from having 5 champions, the Philippine team also bagged 9 gold cups, 16 gold medals, 8 silver medals, and 10 bronze medals. The victory of the Philippine team in the IJMO is the pride of the nation. – Rappler.com
Annabella Garcia is Rappler intern. She is currently taking BA Film in the University of the Philippines Diliman.