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The country’s top math bets are flying to South Africa to battle with the best of the world in the 55th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), the toughest and most prestigious global mathematical competition for high school students. 

The team is composed of finalists and winners to this year’s Philippine Mathematical Olympiad (PMO) and are seasoned participants to international mathematics competitions, namely Clyde Wesley S. Ang of Chiang Kai Shek College; Kyle Patrick F. Dulay of Philippine Science High School – Main Campus; Ma. Czarina Angela S. Lao, Adrian Reginald C. Sy, and Matthew Ryan S. Tan of St. Jude Catholic School; and Farrell Eldrian S. Wu of MGC New Life Christian Academy. 

The 55th IMO will be held at Cape Town South, Africa on July 3-13, 2014. 

Three of the contestants participated in last year’s IMO bannered by Sy who won a bronze medal. He also placed first-runner up in this year’s PMO and won a silver medal in the recent Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad (APMO). He is joined by fellow 54th IMO bets Lao and Wu who both won honorable mentions in the said plum. 

Dulay is a silver medal awardee in the recent APMO while Ang and Tan garnered honorable mentions. 

The six Filipino math wizards will be guided by Team Leader Dr. Jose Ernie Lope and Deputy Team Leader Joseph Ray Clarence Damasco, both of the Mathematical Society of the Philippines (MSP). Some of the former members of the Philippine team to the IMO are also joining them for support. 

Some supporters from the government, private, and academic sectors gathered last 28 June to boost the team’s spirit in time for their departure on 6 July for the competition. 

Dr. Josette Biyo, Director of the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), congratulated the students for flourishing in the trainings to earn the spot to the national team. 

“I am very happy to express the collective belief of our people in your gifts that you will be able to bring honor for this country in the field of mathematics,” said Biyo. 

The Philippines has been consistent in bringing home at least the bronze medal since 2008 and managed to pour in three bronze medals in the 54th IMO. This year, the team is in high hopes of bringing home a either a silver or gold medal. 

Biyo expressed enthusiasm over the team’s composition as they are a good mix of veterans in Sy, Wu and Lao, and up-and-comers in Dulay, Ang and Tan. She noted that the chance to represent the country’s flag in the IMO is an “incredible achievement” on its own and proves that Filipinos can indeed compete in any stage and against any nationality. She added though that the team should strive for more than the chance to compete. 

“We can definitely win. Hopefully, our time to win that precious gold is now,” said Biyo. 

The DOST-SEI and MSP jointly organize the training and sending-off of the Philippine team to the IMO. Other sponsoring entities include the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Mathematics, Foundation for Upgrading the Standards of Education, Inc., Metrobank Foundation, Social Security System, and the Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines. (30)