Double delight for Irish at Maths Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro

24 Jul 2017

The Irish team at IMO 2017. From left: Dr Mark Flanagan, UCD; Polyanna Stefani; Darragh Glynn, St Paul’s College; Cillian Doherty, Coláiste Eoin; Mark Heavey, Blackrock College; Antonia Huang, Mount Anville; Anna Mustata, Bishopstown Community School; Mark Fortune, CBS Thurles; Anca Mustata, UCC. Image: Dr Mark Flanagan

Ireland secured a record haul at the 2017 International Mathematical Olympiad, with two bronze medals the country’s best ever result.

Anna Mustata and Cillian Doherty’s bronze-medal wins at this year’s International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) secured Ireland’s most successful showing since entering the competition in 1988.

Representing 20pc of all medals ever won by the country, Mustata and Doherty’s achievements at a single event rank alongside a 2005 silver win by Fiachra Knox.

Mustata (a fifth-year student at Bishopstown Community School, Cork) and Doherty (a sixth-year student at Coláiste Eoin, Booterstown, Dublin) also helped Ireland reach its highest ever team score, finishing 62 out of 112.

The two Irish bronze medallists at the IMO 2017, Cillian Doherty and Anna Mustata.

The two Irish bronze medallists, Cillian Doherty and Anna Mustata. Image: Dr Mark Flanagan

The more the merrier

Ireland’s four other team members received honourable mentions, the second-highest haul the country has ever secured.

They are: Antonia Huang (Mount Anville Secondary School, Dublin), Mark Heavey (Blackrock College, Dublin), Mark Fortune (CBS Thurles Secondary School, Tipperary), and Darragh Glynn (St Paul’s College, Raheny, Dublin).

The Irish team was led by Dr Mark Flanagan, associate professor at the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at University College Dublin and a researcher with Connect. Anca Mustata, a lecturer in the School of Mathematical Sciences in University College Cork, was deputy leader.

IMO is the ‘world championships’ of maths for high-school students and is held annually in a different country. The first was held in 1959 in Romania, with seven countries participating. It has gradually expanded to more than 100 countries from five continents.

South Korea finished top of the pile, with its team of six securing a gold medal apiece, as China (five golds and one silver), Vietnam (four golds, one silver, one bronze), the US (three golds, three silvers) and Iran (two gold, three silver, one bronze) rounded out the top five.

Chemistry glory

Earlier this month, Ireland secured further medals at the International Chemistry Olympiad, with Diarmuid O’Donoghue (Ashton School, Cork), Michael Hong (Methodist College, Belfast) and Alicia Huntley (Regent House School, Down) bagging a bronze each.

This, too, represented a record haul from an Irish contingent, with the country’s presence in the competition stretching back to 1999.

The three winners at this year’s event bring Ireland’s bronze medal tally to 20 over the past 20 years, with two silver medals also received.

Updated, 3.30pm, 24 July 2017: This article has been amended to reflect Ireland’s final position at IMO. It has also been corrected to clarify the winner of a silver medal in 2005 was Fiachra Knox, not Martin Orr.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic