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Gold medal winner Tomás Cantú. Gold medal winner Tomás Cantú.

Mexican student wins gold at international math competition

The Russian-hosted event was carried out virtually

A Mexican student has taken a gold medal in this year’s 61st International Mathematical Olympiad under unusual pandemic-related conditions that required participants to compete virtually in socially distanced conditions.

Tomás Cantú, a high school student from Mexico City, learned he had won the gold at 5 a.m. Monday morning, when this year’s Olympiad hosts in St. Petersburg made the announcement virtually.

In an overall impressive showing, four of the five other Mexican competitors on this year’s team won bronze medals: Pablo Valeriano of Nuevo Leon, Omar Astudillo of Guerrero, Ana Paula Jiménez of Mexico City, and Emilio Ramos of Sinaloa. The final member of Mexico’s team of six, Daniel Ochoa, won an honorable mention.

The competition was to have taken place this year in St. Petersburg in July, but Covid-19 restrictions put the brakes on the anticipated trip to Russia. Olympiad organizers had delayed the event until September in hopes that the pandemic would have abated by then, but in June they announced that all competing students — from 113 countries — would have to participate from specially-installed competition centers in their home countries, supervised by a designated Olympiad representative, with cameras broadcasting to St. Petersburg as they completed the competition’s math exams.

The Mexican team participated from a center installed in Cuernavaca.

In order to mimic normal competition conditions, the tournament’s organizers required all participants to complete their exams simultaneously in a coordinated four hour and 30 minute window in Coordinated Universal Time (GMT), meaning that students in New Zealand finished their exams at midnight and Mexico’s students started their exams at 7 a.m.

The medals put Mexico’s team at 45th place worldwide.

Winners participated today in a virtual closing ceremony from Russia.

Mexico News Daily

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