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Richmond students excel in international math contest

Six children won the UBMAS Abacus&Metal Arithmestic International Competition in Malaysia
(Left to right) Harsh Bhavsar, Carson Lam, Cristiano Carvalho, Anna Lee, Petra Dmitrovic, Annie Lu and Binu Kumar, director of UCMAS Richmond. Photo submitted

Richmond children have proven their excellence in math on an international stage.

Six students at UCMAS Richmond, a math program focusing on developing children’s brains, returned with trophies from the 22nd UCMAS Abacus & Mental Arithmetic International Competition in Malaysia.

Students competed with more than 2,200 participants from 40 counties by answering math questions in different categories. For example, in one contest, students answered 200 math problems in eight minutes.

Nine-year-old Petra Dmitrovic won second place in the world in the “listening competition,” in which he had to calculate up to 35 rows of three-digit numbers.

“This is indeed a proud moment for the Richmond community…and once again demonstrated the skills and talents of the students of Richmond,” said centre director Binu Kumar.

The children are among more than 200 students at UCMAS Richmond, who attend the class once a week and practice math for 20 to 30 minutes every day, according to Krishna Kumar, founder of the centre.

Classes include abacus training, mental training, speed training, listen-and-calculate training and read-and-calculate training.

“We teach children visualization techniques. It uses abacus and mental arithmetic to teach them to get quicker, faster and accurate in math,” said Kumar.

But he added that math is just a medium to develop cognitive skills a child needs as part of their development.

“Math is the mother of science,” he said.

“It improves their concentration, their focus and time-management skills, because every activity they do, they have to do it in a certain time.

“It also improves their observational analytical skills, so they are able to become better listeners and visualizers.

“Every child can learn this. You don’t have to be an expert and you don’t have to do well in math. Everyone can benefit (from practising math) in some way,” he said.

In the last National Abacus & Mental Math Competition, Richmond students who consist of three per cent of the total that participated won 45 per cent of the eligible awards, according to Kumar.