S'pore students top geography Olympiad, place well in other international competitions

The winning team's members (from left) Marcus Lee Jun Rui, Brian Lee Ming Jun, Anders Hong and Wong Kang Zheng. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

SINGAPORE - A group of Singapore students have come in first at the International Geography Olympiad (iGeo), putting the country back on top for the first time since 2014.

One of them, Hwa Chong Institution Junior College Year 1 student Wong Kang Zheng, 17, fought through a bout of Covid-19 he contracted midway through the competition, held from July 12 to 18.

"I took the last component of the competition at home, and one hour in, I just face-planted because I was having a 39 deg C fever and a headache," he said on Thursday, referring to how he fell face first to the table.

Kang Zheng pressed on as he did not want to waste the year of effort he and his team of four had spent preparing, he said. He eventually clinched a gold medal.

The team bagged a total of three gold medals and one silver medal at the 18th iGeo held virtually from Paris and emerged first out of 54 countries and territories and a total of 209 participants.

The competition comprised written, multimedia and fieldwork tests.

In a statement congratulating the team on Thursday, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said: "Our students demonstrated their depth of knowledge and understanding across a wide range of physical and human geography topics, including carrying out a virtual fieldwork exercise set in Paris."

The team also participated in the iGeo poster presentation, where they shared Singapore's response to the effects of plastic pollution on aquatic ecosystems and oceans, as well as its impact on the country.

Singaporean students also placed 10th at the 34th International Olympiad in Informatics in August, and were 24th at the 63rd International Mathematical Olympiad and fifth in the 33rd International Biology Olympiad, both held in July.

Teams also clinched a joint sixth place at the 54th International Chemistry Olympiad and ninth at the 52nd International Physics Olympiad.

MOE said: "Through a variety of enriching learning experiences, our students benefited from the opportunity to interact with like-minded peers from all around the world, and they continued to fly the Singapore flag high in the international arena."

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