Jean Weight, 18, won a bronze medal at the recent International Mathematics Olympiad. Picture: Supplied
Jean Weight, 18, won a bronze medal at the recent International Mathematics Olympiad. Picture: Supplied

Jean pleased with bagging bronze at Maths Olympiad

By Keagan Mitchell Time of article published Oct 12, 2020

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JEAN Weight’s hard work, determination, passion and love for maths paid off when he bagged a bronze medal at the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO).

Jean, 18, along with two other local participants walked away with bronze medals at the recent IMO, which was held virtually due to Covid-19, while the rest of the team received honourable mentions.

Team South Africa finished in 61st place out of 105 participating countries. The overall winners were China, followed by Russia and the US.

The IMO is the world maths championship for high school pupils and is held annually at different schools in a different country.

Jean, from Betty’s Bay, said his team did well.

“We don’t only have to compete against others in South Africa to qualify for the team, but we also need to train to beat the other countries. However, it is also an event where we can learn a lot as we meet people from other countries and share knowledge. It was an amazing experience and a very competitive competition,” he said.

Regarding his bronze medal, he said: “I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that I had and the progress I could make. It was a lot of years of hard work and I am very happy with the outcome,” said Jean.

The Grade 12 pupil at Curro Hermanus said: “I attended an Olympiad maths class, and after that, I started my journey to the IMO.

“I enjoy maths and like the creativity that goes into proofs and solving problems.”

Jean has been provisionally accepted to study computer science at UCT and Stellenbosch University.

“My current goal is to do very well in my matric finals, and hopefully, get some merit bursaries. My long-term goals are to do well at university and to start a career in something I really enjoy, like robotics,” he said.

His grandmother Nina said she was extremely proud of Jean.

“Jean spends two hours per day on the bus to school and back. To fit everything he does in a day amazes me. He is calm, peaceful, loving and a super teenager,” she said.

Ralph McDougall, a second-year engineering student at Stellenbosch University, was the overall winner of the recent South African Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad.

Executive director of the South African Mathematics Foundation Kerstin Jordaan said South Africa has been taking part in the IMO since 1992.

“Over the years, pupils achieved one gold medal, nine silver medals, 46 bronze medals, and 63 honourable mentions. We are very proud of the team’s achievements this year,” said Jordaan.

*This article first appeared in the Jellybean Journal.

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