Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The national Mathematics team earned two bronze medals to end their campaign ranked 60th out of 111th countries at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The first IMO was held in 1959 in Romania and has gradually expanded to over 100 countries from five continents. A total of 615 contestants from 111 countries participated in this year’s IMO. Countries are ranked according to the team’s individual combined results. The top five countries in ranking order are: Republic of Korea, Peoples Republic of China, Vietnam, United States of America and Islamic Republic of Iran.

South Africa has been an active participating country in the largest and oldest Olympiad for the exact sciences since 1992. The South African Mathematics Foundation’s programmes such as the South African Mathematics Olympiad are used to select and train learners for international competitions. Sixty of our country’s best young mathematicians were invited to an Olympiad camp in December 2016 at the University of Stellenbosch, whereafter the group was trimmed down to 21 high school learners for the April camp in Cape Town. During this camp 6 learners were selected to represent South Africa at the Pan African Mathematics Olympiad and another 6 were selected to participate in the IMO from 16 to 23 July in Brazil. 

Taariq Mowzer, a Grade 10 learner from Fairbairn College in Cape Town, and Adri Wessels, a Grade10 learner from Curro Independent School in Durbanville, walked away with bronze medals. The other team members were TimSchlesinger (Grade11, Rondebosch Boys’ High School), EmilvanderWalt (Grade10, Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck), RalphMcDougall (Grade11, Curro Durbanville) and AaronNaidu (Grade10, Eden College).   They received honourable mentions for solving at least one question correctly.  The team was accompanied by Liam Baker (team leader) and Phil Labuschagne (deputy team leader). 

South Africa was the best African country to partake in the 2017 IMO. A total of 12 African countries took part.  The other African countries in ranking order are Morocco(67), Algeria(73), Tunisia(79), Nigeria(87), Uganda(95), Botswana(98), Ivory Coast(105), Kenya (107), Ghana(108), Tanzania(109) and Egypt(110).

“We are very proud of the team for their hard work and the medals they have brought home," said Liam Baker, the South African team leader.   “This year we had a young team who competed at the IMO for the first time.  I am sure the team members gained valuable experience to improve South Africa’s performance in the 2018 IMO.”


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Issued by the South African Mathematics Foundation. To arrange interviews with the team contact:

Ellie Olivier

Operational Manager


Tel: 012 392 9323/72


About the South African Mathematics Foundation

The South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) is registered as a non profit organisation aiming to advance the mathematics development and education of South African children and young people through improved quality teaching and learning of mathematics as well as through public awareness activities. The company was founded in 2004 by the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) and the South African Mathematical Society (SAMS).

The SAMF serves as a national office for mathematics to promote the effective co-ordination, administration and advancement of mathematics in South Africa.

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