Edinburgh whizz kids claim triple medal win at World Math Olympiad

Ibrahim Faisal (The High School of Glasgow), James Griffith (Loretto School) and Aidan Davis (George Watson's College) show off their medals. Picture: contributed
Ibrahim Faisal (The High School of Glasgow), James Griffith (Loretto School) and Aidan Davis (George Watson's College) show off their medals. Picture: contributed
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A TEAM of Capital maths whizz kids has found the perfect equation for success after storming to three medals in an international competition.

The 12-strong Scottish contingent – 11 of whom attend schools in Edinburgh – represented Team UK at the World Mathematical Olympiad in Beijing on August 12, bagging a gold and two bronze medals at the event.

James Griffith and Aidan Davis, both 11, finished on the podium with a gold and bronze respectively in the individual L2 category, for youngsters aged between ten and 13, despite battling jet lag for much of the competition.

The UK team also won three of the six team tasks, when the youngsters were pitted against nine other countries including China, Canada, South Korea and Australia.

Ibrahim Faisal, a pupil at The High School of Glasgow, also grabbed a bronze at the event.

It proved to be a double celebration for James, a pupil at Loretto School, as he discovered he had passed his A-level maths exam after returning from China, despite being a year away from attending high school.

The competition saw maths stars sit an “exam-style paper” as well as participate in a team event, with winners being declared based on their performance over the two categories.

James, from Musselburgh, admitted the team was “nervous” before starting the paper and said he was “shocked” to discover he had won gold.

He said: “When we were getting called up, Aidan said to me, ‘if I get a medal, you’ll definitely get one too’, so I was expecting to maybe get silver, but I didn’t believe it when they said I got gold.

“I was just so shocked.

“Coming home to find out my A-level results made it more special too. I was so happy for the whole team about our performance.”

George Watson’s pupil Aidan said: “It was a really difficult contest. I think we did well. There were a lot of other countries involved and I think we were all a bit nervous at first.

“We did well in the end though and getting a medal was brilliant.”

The group was accompanied by UK team leaders, with several parents staying at home. Aidan’s mum, Anna, revealed she was unable to sleep and followed the competition online overnight.

She said: “We were all following the action back home. I was totally on edge, I couldn’t sleep. Aidan had phoned me the night before because there was a storm outside and, combined with the jet lag, he’d had a really restless night, but it clearly didn’t affect him.

“He was absolutely wonderful when he started, they all were, I’m just so proud of what they’ve achieved.”

In addition to James, Ibrahim and Aidan, the UK team also included Annabel Thain (George Heriot’s School); Alexis Tie-Gill (George Heriot’s School); Lucy Bellamy (George Heriot’s School); Finlay Gillgrass (George Heriot’s School) Ibrahim Faisal (The High School of Glasgow); James Griffith (Loretto School); Robert Rowlands (George Watson’s College); Aidan Davis (George Watson’s College); Tom Zeng (Clermiston Primary School); Louis Renwick (Sciennes Primary School); Aidan Deng (Sciennes Primary School), Zoe Xu (Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools).

UK team leader Martin Brown was delighted with the performance, revealing a 
massive improvement on last year’s medal haul.

He said: “Last year in Korea, none of the kids won anything at any level, so this has obviously been a massive improvement, all the kids were just fantastic.

“We’re so proud of what they’ve managed to achieve, they should be too.”

Are you smarter than a maths genius?

Here is just a small sample of the questions the maths champions faced:

Which of the following calculations gives the largest answer?

A. 2−1 B. 2÷1 C. 2×1 D. 1×2 E. 2+1

Which of the following integers is not a multiple of 45?

A. 765 B. 675 C. 585 D. 495 E. 305

What is the remainder when the square of 49 is divided by the square root of 49?

A. 0 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 7

Add up all even numbers between 1 and 101, then subtract all odd numbers between 0 and 100. What is the result?

A. 0 B. 50 C. 100 D. 255 E. 2525