Curro Durbanville matriculant Adri Wessels has returned from the 2019 International Maths Olympiad (IMO) in Bath, England, with a bronze medal after coming 46th out of 112 students from as many countries.
He also won bronze at the same event in Rio, Brazil, in 2017 and in Cluj, Romania, in 2018.
“I have always liked mathematics, and now it has become a real passion for me,” said Adri.
“I have found school maths to be boring, but during the olympiad it encourages creativity, and that is one of the things I love so much about it.”
The matriculant said he got into olympiad maths in Grade 7 when a friend of his first started taking lessons.
“Over time, I made it to national olympiads and then I started representing South Africa in international competitions.”
The two-day competition comprises of three questions a day that the students get four and a half hours to solve. Afterwards, the top-scoring students are awarded with medals.
“The questions are a mix of number theory and combinatorics. Number theory is all about working with prime numbers and factors of numbers while combinatorics has a lot more to do with strategy, working out variables and a small bit of probability.”
Adri unwinds by playing computer games and reading.
His father, Driaan Wessels, said he was proud of his son’s achievements.
“This mathematical talent is Adri’s own unique ability, and through his own hard work he continues to cultivate and grow that talent. We are very proud.”