The young mathematician with one of his awards. The young mathematician with one of his awards.

Math whiz seeks help getting to international contest in China

A win last year in Russia gave the 11-year-old a berth at mental arithmetic competition

An 11-year-old mathematics whiz from Mexico City wants to represent his country at an international competition next month in China, but he’s US $5,800 short.

Carlos Alejo Ontiveros’ prowess in arithmetic was first noticed by his parents when he was 3, when they nurtured and encouraged it. He went on to learn the abacus system of mental calculation in which an abacus is mentally visualized to perform calculations, which can be carried out quickly.

“I study 15 minutes every day. I get practice sheets and study with a chronometer in order to measure how long it takes me. You have to answer 70 problems in less than five minutes,” Alejo said.

The boy has won two regional math awards, two at the national level and an international award last year in Russia, earning him an invitation to this year’s match in Guangzhou, China.

Last year, the Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat of Mexico City sponsored his trip to Moscow, but financing has become an issue this time around.

The only bump in Alejo’s road to success is a financial one: the boy and his mother need about 110,000 pesos to cover the travel expenses for the China trip.

“It’s not easy at all for us to get that amount,” said Alejo’s mother, María Angélica Alejo. “He wants to go to China and proudly represent Mexico. He is an intelligent boy who wants to get ahead.”

She has set up an email address for prospective supporters.

The 2019 ALOHA Mental Arithmetic International Competition will take place on June 20.

Source: El Universal (sp)

Reader forum