PH team off to UK to compete in world’s toughest math contest

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After going through a series of competitions and intensive training, six high school students were chosen to represent the country in the 60th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) from July 11-22, 2019 in Bath, United Kingdom.

Photo shows (from left) Immanuel Josiah A. Balete, Bryce Ainsley A. Sanchez, Andres Rico M. Gonzales III, Dion Stephan J. Ong, Vincent U. Dela Cruz, and Sean Anderson L. Ty

The Philippine team is composed of:

  1. Immanuel Josiah A. Balete (St. Stephen’s High School)
  2. Vincent U. Dela Cruz (Valenzuela City School of Mathematics and Science)
  3. Andres Rico M. Gonzales III (De La Salle University Integrated School)
  4. Dion Stephan J. Ong (Ateneo de Manila Senior High School)
  5. Bryce Ainsley A. Sanchez (Grace Christian College)
  6. Sean Anderson L. Ty (Zamboanga Chong Hua High School)

Team leader Richard B. Eden and deputy leader Christian Paul O. Chan Shio, both of Ateneo de Manila University, and observer Russelle H. Guadalupe of the University of the Philippines – Diliman will guide the students in the competition.  

The IMO, held annually in a different country, is dubbed as the most prestigious and most difficult high school mathematics competition in the world. This year, it will see 636 students from 113 countries.

The national team was selected at the end of the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Camp (MOSC), a rigorous training program led by the Mathematical Society of the Philippines (MSP) from February to May 2019. Invited to the program were the National finalists of the 21st Philippine Mathematical Olympiad (PMO).

Sanchez, Ty, and Dela Cruz placed first, second, and third respectively in the National Stage of the 21st PMO held last January 2019, while Gonzales and Ty each won an Honorable Mention Award in the 59th IMO.

Last year, the Philippines won a gold medal, a silver medal, two bronze medals, and two honorable mentions, and ranked 38th in the competition participated by 107 countries.

In a message at the team’s send-off program last June 29, 2019, Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) director Josette Biyo thanked the team and everyone else who has been instrumental in their training and participation.

“We wish you all the best in the upcoming weeks. Already, you are winners in the eyes of our people,” Biyo said.

While the prospect of winning gold for the country is the team’s ultimate goal in joining the IMO, “being part of the 2019 IMO team is already its own reward,” said Dion Stephan Ong.

“The IMO has been my source of fun and leisure throughout my high school life. While I may have been different from my peers in school, the IMO has taught me lessons that I would not have learned elsewhere, and I do not regret spending four years of my high school life preparing for it,” Sean Anderson Ty said.

The country’s participation in the IMO is a project of MSP and DOST-SEI, with support from major sponsors Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI) Foundation and Manulife Business Processing Services.

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