Viet Nam Hopeful of Medals in Math Olympiad

The Vietnamese contestants in the 48th International Mathematics Olympiad sounded very confident of picking up a few medals after the 526-strong field from 96 countries finished the two days of problem solving yesterday.

The contestants play chess after intense hours of problem solving

Nearly everyone agreed that this year’s questions were very difficult, and many said they had only managed to complete two of the six problems.

In fact, so difficult were problems No. 3 and 6 that most of the contestants had to skip them.

Talking to the press afterwards, Mr. Nguyen Duc Hoang, vice captain of the Vietnamese Olympic team, said most of his team had skipped those two questions too and reckoned that it was a true reflection of the team’s ability.

Mr. Hoang also has high hopes that every one of the six Vietnamese contestants will win a medal this year. After all, in last year’s competition, Viet Nam managed to score two gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

With the hard part over, the Olympiad’s organizers are getting ready to take the 800 contestants, team officials and international observers on an excursion around Ha Noi and then Ha Long Bay.

One of them described the post-exam outing as an indispensable part of every year’s International Mathematics Olympiad, and said it “would help promote the image of Viet Nam’s people and scenery around the world and create an opportunity for students from all over the world to get to know each other”.

My Dinh National Convention Center, where the 48th IMO takes place

Dr. Jozsef Pelikan, president of the Olympiad’s Advisory Board, praised Viet Nam for organizing the event so well, and particularly for the examination venue and the accommodation. Instead of student dormitories like in previous years, this time all contestants stayed at La Thanh Hotel.

Explaining the change, Mr. Tran Van Nghia from the organizing committee said that the student dorms in Viet Nam did not even have air conditioning or ensuite bathrooms and were therefore unsuitable for the visiting contestants, whereas La Thanh Hotel did.

Feeding the masses was a big challenge for the hotel’s staff since they had to cater to the preferences of hundreds of people from nearly a hundred countries. Mr. Pham Quoc Binh, a chef at La Thanh, said that his team had prepared dishes with something for everyone except the Muslim contestants, who were served special food.

Because of the unpredictable weather in Ha Noi this time of year, every contestant was given an umbrella and raincoat on top of the essential gear like pens, notebooks and a hat.

After intense hours of problem solving, the contestants unwound by playing chess, volleyball, badminton and billiards in the hotel’s recreation areas.

The International Mathematics Olympiad for high school students is held every year in a different country. The first was held in 1959 in Romania, with seven countries participating. This is the first time Viet Nam has hosted it.

The closing ceremony will take place on Monday July 30. 

By V.L – Translated by Khanh Hong

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