The results of this year's International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) were as exciting for Ireland as the competition's location in Rio de Janeiro, with the team earning two bronze medals, as well as honourable mentions for all other team members - adding up to the best team score in 30 years of participation.
This year's IMO was hosted by the Brazilian Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA), in Rio de Janeiro. Kicking off on 17th July, the competition opened with a series of welcoming events, before diving straight into the two contest papers on the two following days. The Irish team could relax and enjoy excursions around the city, including a visit to the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain, before the closing ceremony and farewell party on 22nd.
Though the joys and sights (which are considerable!) of Rio de Janeiro were a very attractive part of the trip for the Irish team, the most remarkable aspect by far was the outstanding set of results the team achieved. Cillian Doherty (6th year, Coláiste Eoin, Dublin) and Anna Mustata (5th year, Bishopstown Community School, Cork) both hit the jackpot when they won a highly sought-after bronze medal apiece. In addition, the other four members of the team, Antonia Huang (Mount Anville Secondary School, Dublin), Mark Heavey (Blackrock College, Dublin), Mark Fortune (CBS Thurles Secondary School, Tipperary), and Darragh Glynn (St Paul’s College, Raheny, Dublin), won "honourable mentions" at the prize-giving ceremony, an extremely prestigious honour. On the whole, this year's performance constitutes the best Ireland has ever had at the IMO since the beginning of its participation in 1988, even besting that of 2005, in which Fiachra Knox won a silver medal. This success is part of a general upward trend seen in Ireland's results over the last few years, a trend that promises further success in the future.
In addition to problem solving training by academics from the 5 IMT centres, the team members attended two dedicated training camps in UCC and one at MIC, Limerick. They were also able to prepare on location in Rio before the competition. The team leader Dr. Mark Flanagan of UCD helped with the coaching for the first few days until he joined the official jury of leaders from all participant countries. The team and their deputy leader Dr. Anca Mustata of UCC's School of Mathematical Sciences continued the training for a few more days afterwards. The IMT is grateful to all trainers and the Irish universities who supported the team, in particular to UCC and MIC for hosting the training camp, and to SFI Discover for financial support.
Everyone at the IMT is extremely proud of them and the six members of the Irish team.
The full Irish squad. Left to right: Dr. Mark Flanagan, Polyanna Stefani, Darragh Glynn, Cillian Doherty, Mark Heavey, Antonia Huang, Anna Mustata, Mark Fortune, Anca Mustata.
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