The Philippine contingent put up an impressive showing at the 60th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) as all six members of the team won a medal in the oldest and most prestigious of the international scientific competitions.
The national team brought home one silver and five bronzes against more than 600 other contestants in the competition held in Bath, United Kingdom from July 11-22, 2019.
This is only the second time, after the 58th IMO in 2017, that all six representatives won a medal. The Philippines also ranked 31st out of 112 countries, up from last year’s 38th out of 107 countries.
Leading the medal haul is Sean Anderson Ty of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School who nabbed a silver medal. This is his second medal in the IMO, following a bronze in 2017 and an honorable mention in 2018.
Math whiz Andres Rico Gonzales III of De La Salle University Integrated School secured a bronze medal on his second IMO. He received an honorable mention in 2018.
The rest of the team — all first-timers — also won bronze medals: Immanuel Josiah Balete of St Stephen’s High School, Vincent Dela Cruz of Valenzuela City School of Mathematics and Science, Dion Stephan Ong of Ateneo de Manila Senior High School, and 2019 Philippine Mathematical Olympiad Champion Bryce Ainsley Sanchez of Grace Christian College.
The competition at the University of Bath saw contestants attempt to solve individually six challenging and original problems for a total of 9 hours spread over the two official days of competition.
Each country can send at most only six contestants. Medals are then awarded to students based on the individual scores they earned from their written solutions.
A non-medalist who completely solves one problem is awarded an honorable mention. This year, only six students were able to get the perfect score of 42.
The team arrived from Bath, United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 with team leader Dr. Richard Eden and deputy leader Dr. Christian Paul Chan Shio, both of Ateneo de Manila University, and trainer Russelle Guadalupe of the University of the Philippines – Diliman who guided the students in the competition.
“This is a huge victory for the country, knowing how difficult it is to get a medal in the IMO. But we are more awed by the fact that most of the participants are first-timers and still managed to seize this incredible achievement,” said Josette Biyo, director of the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).
DOST-SEI, along with MSP, jointly organized the country’s participation to the IMO, as well as the Math Olympiad Summer Camp held mostly in April and May that served as the training ground for the team. There, 22 national finalists from the 2019 Philippine Mathematical Olympiad were screened for slots in the Philippine Team.