Doing the math: Aussie wins world arithmetic event

Fri Mar 6, 2009 4:11am EST
 
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By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - An 11-year-old Australian beat almost two million students to win one of the world's biggest online maths competitions after correctly answering some 129,100 arithmetic problems within 48 hours.

"I can't believe I've beaten the whole world! I've been working hard practicing and preparing for the event, so I'm happy all the hard work paid off," Kaya Genc, from Queensland state, said in a statement issued after he was named champion of the global World Maths Day challenge on Friday.

Almost two million students from 204 countries took part in this year's challenge, a free web-based event for 5 to 18-year-olds that kicked off as soon as it turned March 4 anywhere in the world. Sydney was this year's host city.

Organizers said the event, which involved nearly 183 million arithmetic questions, was aimed at uniting children and showing them that maths can be enjoyable, and rewarding.

"The numbers are amazing absolutely amazing," Tim Power, Chief Executive of 3P Learning, the company who coordinates the annual event, told Reuters.

"It's inviting children to be part of a world record and to show them that maths can be fun," he added, referring to the 2009 participation in the event which was the highest in its history.

Students, either individually or as a class, played against each other in mental arithmetic games. Each game lasted 60 seconds, and students could play as many times as they liked within the March 4 dateline.

Some 40,000 schools across the globe joined in. The event began in 2006 as an Australia versus New Zealand challenge, becoming global last year.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)