LAHORE: The eighth-grader prodigy who secured the gold medal in an international math competition credited his achievement to the challenge given by his father and the prayers of his loved ones.
Syed Jafar Raza Naqvi from the Pak Turk Main Boys Campus Lahore represented Pakistan in the 7th International Math Challenge held in Bangkok Thailand between February 22 and 24. Jafar secured the gold medal from among 600 participants from 180 teams belonging to 50 schools from 17 countries across the world.
Jafar, a humble and confident boy, was among the 11 students from Pak Turk from Pakistan and was accompanied by a mentor Khalid Zeeshan, the vice principal of his school. He won the gold medal in the category of class 8 at the International Math Challenge VII held at Pan Asia International School Bangkok, Thailand. The competition was held among participants from around the world, including Romania, Nigeria, Singapore, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and many others countries.
Jafar says that his father, a lawyer by profession, had challenged him to solve a minimum of 20 questions every day to prepare for the competition. "My dad told me to prepare so hard that when I go there everything should be on my fingertips and I did just that."
The young math-wiz also attributes his achievement to the prayers of his family and friends, especially his Dadi (grandmother). Jafar, a brother to three sisters, says that whenever he got stuck in a math problem during his preparation for the competition, his sisters always bailed him out.
"I like math and love problem-solving. I prepared for two months and received extra classes and zero periods to prepare for the competition," he said, adding that he took part in the competition because of the motivation of his teachers. "I am unsure what I will go for in the future, however, I would like to pursue CA. Other than that I can join the army or attempt the CSS examination."
Jafar will not be able to compete next year as the competition is for students between grade I and VIII but he says, "I will surely help my juniors to prepare for the competition next year."
Khalid Zeeshan, the vice principal of the school, who also accompanied the students during the competition, said the school had been taking part in the international competition for the last two years. "Last year, we got a gold medal in the competition," he said. He added that they wanted the representation of Pakistan on the international level as well as giving their students exposure and showcase their skills to the world. "We wanted something more for the children, a bigger challenge and an international platform. The students were prepared with dedication and the children worked hard."
Zeeshan said that Jafar was not the only success story at the competition where out of the 11 participants from his school, they secured a total of 7 medals. These included one gold, three silver and three bronze.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2018.