Four young students have done the country proud by excelling in an international mental mathematics competition in Cambodia, claiming first, second and third places in their respective categories.
Ivan Christian Maharaj, 11, Bruce Boodoo, nine, Teevan Samlal, 15 and Kristoff Seebaran, eight, travelled 17,000 km to the South-East Asian nation to compete against more than 4,000 participants from 80 countries at the Universal Concept Mental Arithmetic System (UCMAS) 24th International Competition on December 8.
After competing in the one-day event Maharaj captured first place, Boodoo placed second, while Samlal and Seebaran took third place in their respective categories. Flashing brilliant smiles, the boys were extremely proud of their achievements in an interview with Guardian Media at Palmiste Park, San Fernando.
Elated over the children’s performance, national franchisee for UCMAS T&T, Roma Ajodha-Seeberan explained that the local branch was formed six years ago, but began competing in the international competition about three years ago. This year, however, is the first time that UCMAS T&T has done so well.
The children were required to first complete 200 questions in eight minutes and the second part involved listening to questions and answering them. They were not allowed to use an abacus or calculator. The parents had to source funding for the trip. Ajodha-Seebaran said her attempts to get sponsorship from the corporate community and the Ministry of Education were unsuccessful.
UCMAS T&T, however, gives the student who places first in the national competition from which the top students are selected for the international competition, US$1,000 to help towards airfare to get to the international competition. This year the group is hoping to host fundraising events to assist the students with their travelling expenses.