Sunday, September 27, 2020

Hyd youth bags gold medal at Mind Sports Olympiad in London

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Hyderabad: City-based 20-year-old math prodigy Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash Jonnalagadda, holding the fastest human calculator in the world record, has done the nation proud, winning the gold medal at the Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO) in London.

As the country celebrated its 74th Independence Day, Jonnalagadda, pursuing Mathematics (Hons.) at St. Stephens College in New Delhi, beat 29 competitors, up to 57 years of age, from 13 countries, to emerge the winner in the Mental Calculation World Championship20 at London on August 15.

Mind Sports Olympiad

The MSO is the most prestigious international competition for games of mental skill and mind sports held annually and equivalent to any other Olympic event in the realm of physical sports and he was the first Indian to bag the gold medal in the event, Jonnalagadda told PTI on Tuesday.

According to the MSO website, it is an international event with over 60 different board game competitions ranging from classics like Chess, Scrabble and unique events including over a dozen world championships such as Memory, Mental Calculations and Creative Thinking.

Known as Bhanu, the maths prodigy said he holds four records for being the “fastest human calculator in the world”, having eclipsed records which were once held by highly acclaimed mathematicians.

According to him, the judges, who were fascinated by his speed, asked him to perform more calculations to confirm his accuracy, which he proved with elan.

Bhanu, who did his schooling here, said the Olympic Gold medal win in Mental Math and Mind Sports should be recognised by the Central government.

Future Plans

On his future plans, the youth, whose parents own a small scale food manufacturing enterprise, said he wanted to eradicate maths phobia prevalent among students, mainly in the rural and underprivileged communities.

Bhanu rued there were no significant programmes to increase mathematical abilities and numeracy in the country and said he would like to create math labs, reach out to millions of children, under what he called VISION Math , to make them love math and arithmetic calculations.

Exploring Infinities, a start up run by him, is a math education partner of T-SAT the education channel of the Telangana government.

The startup aims at developing cognitive abilities in children through arithmetic learning using an edutech app, which Bhanu says, will banish maths phobia of class I-XII students by making brain workouts a popular culture.

“We’re looking for investments from VCs (venture capitalists) to make it big, in the Indian context,” he added.

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