Cape Town, July 22, 2023 – Team South Africa achieved a significant feat as the highest-performing African nation at the 2023 International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO). In a field of 112 competing countries, South Africa secured an impressive 51st position. This outstanding achievement is a testament to the country’s prowess in mathematics and the dedication of its talented young mathematicians.
The South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) coach, Liam Baker, expressed his admiration for the team’s remarkable performance, noting their advancement by 12 places compared to the previous year’s ranking of 63rd. The team’s success was further embellished by one of its members, who secured a prestigious silver medal – a rare feat for South Africa, as it marks the first silver medal won in 12 years.
Baker attributed this success to the country’s thriving mathematics competition culture and training programs. He highlighted the significance of local competitions at various levels, such as the UCT Maths Competition, the Wits Maths Competition (WMC), the South African Maths Olympiad (SAMO) for high school students, and the South African Maths Challenge (SAMC) and WMC for primary school students. These initiatives, along with other competitions, contribute to nurturing mathematical talent and driving excellence in the field.
At the IMO, medals were awarded to the top 50% of participants, with bronze for those ranking approximately 50%-25%, silver for 25%-8%, and gold for the top 8%. Additionally, participants who solved one of the six problems correctly but didn’t receive a medal were honored with an honorable mention.
Two talented brothers from Reddam House Durbanville, Youkyum Kim (Grade 10) and Minkyum Kim (Grade 12), proudly brought home silver and bronze medals, respectively, further bolstering South Africa’s reputation on the global mathematics stage.
Professor Kerstin Jordaan, a full-time mathematics researcher and the SAMF executive director, extended her heartfelt congratulations to the team. She commended their dedication, perseverance, and passion, acknowledging their achievements as a source of inspiration for aspiring mathematicians nationwide. The accomplishments of these exceptional young minds reaffirm South Africa’s standing among the world’s mathematical elite, motivating generations to come to embrace the wonders of mathematics.