Kenya at the 57th International Mathematics Olympiad 2016 in Hong Kong

Kenya at the 57th International Mathematics Olympiad 2016 in Hong Kong

Kenya sent a team to the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO 2016) in Hong Kong. This is the first time Kenya has participated in the International Mathematical Olympiad. It was indeed a big honour to be part of this competition which brings together the best mathematical talent from over 100 countries to compete. The contestants were Qu Renyi, Kais Musa, Yash Khapre, Cynthia Migika, Stefan Tesliuc and Victor Momanyi. The team leader and deputy team leader were, respectively, Dr.James Katende and Dr. Jared Ongaro both from the School of Mathematics at the University of Nairobi. The team was sponsored by AMICORP, ACCA Kenya and HACO Industries.  

 The team was selected after excelling in the second round of the Kenya Mathematics Olympiad which was held on the 5th of March 2016 at the School of Mathematics, University of Nairobi.  They are students of various secondary schools namely, Rosslyn Academy, Agakhan Academy, Alliance Girls High School, Alliance High school and the International School of Kenya. They underwent a two week enrichment camp at the University of Nairobi from the 28th of May to the 11th of June 2016.

The team arrived to a very warm welcome in Hong Kong on the 9th of July 2016. The event was hosted by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). They attended a grand opening ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium on the 10th of July 2016.  The first paper was done on the 11th of July and the second on 12th of July 2016.  The team leaders were hosted at the Harbour Grand Kowloon but later on joined the participants at the HKUST.

While the marking and coordination went on the students were taken on an excursion to Disneyland and they had lots fun.  They also had a chance to go the Peak and enjoyed the spectacular aerial views of the tall buildings and the hills in Hong Kong. They also interacted with other teams from over 100 countries and have made many friends from these countries.

The team also sampled the local cuisine and had a chance to try out the chop sticks. In particular they tried out the delicious dim sum served in small steamer baskets as well as Chinese tea.

The closing ceremony was held on the 15th of July 2016at the Hong Kong Center for Exhibitions and Conferences.  The top three teams were the United States of America, South Korea and China.

The  team did the best they could for a first attempt. Even though they did not make it to the medal bracket, it was a very enlightening experience. The students are highly motivated and are ready to give it a second attempt at the IMO 2017 in Brazil.  The whole process was a learning experience and we are now much wiser. A total of 12 African Countries participated and Kenya was ranked seventh among the African countries.

The 58th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO 2017) will be held in Brazil from July 12 to 24, 2017 in Rio De Janeiro. The host Institution will be Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA).

The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School students and is held annually in a different country. The first IMO was held in 1959 in Romania, with 7 countries participating. It has gradually expanded to over 100 countries from 5 continents. The IMO Advisory Board ensures that the competition takes place each year and that each host country observes the regulations and traditions of the IMO.

Going forward we are looking at much wider participation in the local selection process. This will allow Kenya to show case its talent and educational system on the international scene and provide excellent opportunities for the students to gain exposure and access to admissions to some of the best Universities in the world. It will also be an opportunity for the corporate world to identify and nurture talent and have an excellent pool of future employees.


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