SA pupils walk away with top honours at Pan African Mathematics Olympiad

The group competed against seven other countries in Senegal at the weekend.

From Left: Timothy Schlesinger, Ralph McDougall, Mpho Nkwana, Dylan Nelson (Deputy Leader), Hannah Clayton,SangEun Lee,Liam Baker (Team Leader)Front- Rauseenah Upadhey with the SA Maths Foundation mascot.Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Six South African high school pupils are back home after winning the 2016 Pan African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO) in Dakar, Senegal at the weekend.

The group went through a series of rigorous training programmes with the South African Maths Foundation and formed part of 45 contestants from eight different countries who qualified to compete.

Contestants wrote two tests consisting of three Olympiad problems, each question requiring insight, ingenuity and logical rigorous proofs.

The South African team came out tops as winners in both the overall competitions as well as PAMO-G (the competition for girls), beating Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Tunisia.

Tunisia was second and Côte d'Ivoire third.

Hannah Clayton, who participated for a second consecutive year, says she is proud of the group's achievement.

"It was an amazing experience. I went with lovely people and my team mates were excellent. Everyone contributed equally in our team."

Mpho Nkwana, who participated for the first time, says the team worked well together despite being from different schools. He says the win did not come as a surprise.

"It's not unbelievable because we worked hard but it's been a while since South Africa won the competition and I was excited when the results were about to be announced."

Nkwana, who plans to study actuarial science, says a positive mindset and good practice is all it takes to do well in the subject.

SangEun Lee, who managed to walk away with a gold medal, not only won the PAMO-G, but also won the overall competition and was crowned the Queen of Mathematics for the second year in a row.