All six members of the Philippine contingent to the 60th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) won a medal in the oldest and most prestigious of the international scientific olympiads.
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 to 22.
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 was Sean Anderson Ty of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School who bagged a silver, 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 in his second IMO. He received an honorable mention in 2018.
The rest of the team–all first-timers–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 each contestant attempt to solve six challenging and original problems for 9 hours spread over the two official days of competition. Each country was allowed to send up to six contestants. Medals were 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 Philippine team arrived back home July 24. The team was led by 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.
Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) Director Dr. Josette Biyo congratulated the team for maintaining the Philippines’ winning streak in the IMO. “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 were first-timers and still managed to seize this incredible achievement,” she said.
Biyo also thanked the families of the participants and the Mathematical Society of the Philippines (MSP) for pursuing a stronger presence for the country in international mathematics competitions. “We are excited to see the extent of our students’ mathematical prowess given more training, experience and support,” she added.
DOST-SEI, along with MSP, jointly organized the country’s participation to the IMO, as well as the Math Olympiad Summer Camp held 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. The major sponsors of the team are Hyundai Asia Resources Inc (HARI) Foundation and Manulife Business Processing Services.