Local pupils to represent SA in science olympiads

2017-04-20 14:11
Raisethorpe Secondary School pupils Yeshan Naidoo (16, left) and Sarthak Kokane (14) have both been chosen to represent the country at chemistry and biology international olympiads.

Raisethorpe Secondary School pupils Yeshan Naidoo (16, left) and Sarthak Kokane (14) have both been chosen to represent the country at chemistry and biology international olympiads. (Ian Carbutt)

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Two local science boffins will be jetting off to represent South Africa at two international olympiads for chemistry and biology in July.

The Raisethorpe Secondary School pupils, who got top placements at last year’s national biology and chemistry olympiads, were chosen as part of two national teams to compete against 52 countries in Thailand and England.

The teens will be in separate teams of four.

Speaking to The Witness on Wednesday, 14-year-old Sarthak Kokane, who is in matric this year, said being selected makes him feel like he has accomplished something great because his team-mates are much older than he is.

Sarthak, who moved to South Africa from India with his family in 2011, was boosted through two grades when he arrived due to the differences in the complexity of the curriculums in both countries.

The youngest matriculant at his school, Sarthak was placed second nationally at the 2016 Grade 11 Biology Olympiad. He will be competing in Coventry, England, with his team-mates, who are all from KZN, at the International Biology Olympiad.

“People always compare me to Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory because I also want to study theoretical physics. I am very excited; I have always wanted to travel to new places,” said Sarthak.

“I have always loved science but I have a passion for biology and nature.”

Juggling between his passion for weightlifting and his flair for science, 16-year-old Yeshan Naidoo said he is looking forward to be tested at the level of a second year university student at the International Chemistry Olympiad in Thailand.

Yeshan said it was a “bittersweet” feeling when he was placed second at last year’s national chemistry olympiad.

“It was good knowing I did well, but I could have done better because I missed first place by only two marks,” he said.

“I feel like I have done my parents proud. It is my first time abroad so I am extremely excited.”

Yeshan hopes to study aeronautical or chemical engineering after high school.

Raisethorpe Secondary School principal Indran Pillay said he is thrilled that the star pupils have maintained the school’s reputation of having pupils chosen for international olympiads for several years running.

“We wish them both everything of the best,” Pillay said.

Read more on:    pietermarizburg

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