JEDDAH: A young Saudi has won second place in this year’s Worldwide Mental Arithmetic Competition on Friday.
Hundreds of talented pupils representing more than 25 countries, including Saudi Arabia, participated in this year’s competition.
Primary school pupil Itizaz Alnefaie from Tabuk broke the world record by solving 100 maths problems, testing herself against the clock.
Solving a math problem might take most people a few minutes. However, Alnefaie takes just a second or two.
Footage from the competition shows her hands swinging and flapping frantically, her fingers waggling, as she works through the problems at speed, visualizing the numbers and applying her calculations.
“I joined the little genius program at first, and I finished the first level. Then I moved to the second level, and I started to train on mental (arithmetic) and abacus,” she told local media.
The abacus system of mental calculation involves people visualizing an abacus to solve a math problem. No physical abacus is used during the calculation as the exercise is done at great speed, and the answers are written down.
“More or less, I focused mainly on mental calculation for the competition, and I was then qualified to compete in the Mental Arithmetic Competition in Sharm El-Sheikh,” she said.
The annual competition is organized by the World Association of Mental Arithmetic Schools and is aimed at helping parents to show off their little geniuses to the world.
WAMAS says the competition is also a chance for schools to highlight the achievements of their students on the world stage and demonstrate their phenomenal abilities and skills.
“After training hard, I am happy to win second place internationally, and I am so proud of this achievement, which will add to the achievements of students in the Kingdom.”
She also praised the efforts of her teacher, who trained her well enough to compete in the two-day event.
WAMAS said that participation in the global competition was a “huge motivation” for students and also their parents, who would witness the lofty achievements of their children.
Such competitions are one way to help develop a child’s analytical skills and intellectual and academic performance. It also increases their ability to analyze and rely on digital memory.
The Tabuk education department tweeted on Saturday: “The General Director of Tabuk Education congratulates Alnefaie for achieving second place in the Worldwide Mental Arithmetic Competition.”