Durban - Having earned the title Champion of Champions at the Abacus Maths Association of South Africa (Amasa) championships recently, maths whizz kids Keshalya Singh and Dante Lazarus were selected to compete in the international leg of the competition in Australia next year.
Keshalya, of Malvern, and Dante, of Hillary, both 8, competed with more than 250 children, who also attend abacus-based maths tuition, on two levels - junior and senior - for the coveted titles.
Keshalya’s father Kelvin said the competition comprised two sections - calculating sums using the abacus with a six-minute limit and anzan (mental maths) with a two-minute limit to complete questions.
The Grade 3 pupils at Parkside Primary School attend additional maths tuition with Smart Mental Arithmetic, which assists them to calculate maths sums mentally and using an abacus.
This includes addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of numbers ranging from single-digit operations to adding numbers in the trillions.
“The anzan section involves the calculation of maths sums without any aid and is done mentally.
“Many sums are given with the aim that the children do not complete the test within the specified time.
“However, both Keshalya and Dante completed their tests and were awarded the highest trophy possible, being the Champion of Champions trophy in their respective categories,” Singh said.
Keshalya scored 96% for her tests and Dante 100%.
The dynamic duo will also compete in this year’s Global Association of Japanese Soroban and Mental Arithmetic World Numeracy competition at the Brookside Hotel in Johannesburg on September 29 with pupils from around the world in their respective classification groups.
The children had qualified to participate at a regional championship held last year.
“They are proudly representing South Africa, a country where in fact maths is ranked very poorly. The tuition programmes are a good learning platform to aid our future generation, to uplift the country.”
Dante’s mother, Tracy Lazarus, said: “Being able to represent our country is a remarkable achievement and I am proud. The competitions have also taught him that hard work and discipline does not go unrewarded. Dante always tries to remain focused, dedicated and confident in his abilities, which is inspiring.”
Keshalya, intent on pursuing a career in engineering, said mathematics was fun and exciting, while Dante, a budding scientist, added that he enjoyed solving problem (sums) and puzzles.