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May 31, 2006


OTTAWA, Ontario -- Six of Canada's best high school mathematics students have been chosen to represent their country at the 47th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The IMO is the world championship mathematics competition for high school students and is being held this year in Ljubljana, Slovenia from July 6 to July 18, 2006.

"The six students have demonstrated the exceptional problem solving skills, understanding and creativity that is so necessary to compete against the very best at the international level," said Dr. Graham Wright, Executive Director of the Canadian Mathematical Society, the organization responsible for the selection and training of Canada's IMO team. "They represent the best of our students and will be excellent ambassadors for Canada".

The six students - Farzin Barekat, Sutherland Secondary School, North Vancouver (British Columbia); Viktoriya Krakovna, Vaughan Road Academy, Toronto (Ontario); Yang (Richard) Peng, Vaughan Road Academy, Toronto (Ontario); Dong Uk (David) Rhee, McNally High School, Edmonton (Alberta); Peng Shi, Sir John A. MacDonald Collegiate Institute, Agincourt (Ontario) and Yufei Zhao, Don Mills Collegiate Institute, Toronto (Ontario) -- were selected from among more than 200,000 students in grades 7 to 12 (plus CEGEP) who participated in local, provincial and national mathematics contests.

The Canadian team members, who must be less than 20 years old when they write the IMO competition, will be pitting their skills against more than 450 of the world's best students from over 80 countries. The IMO competition paper, which is set by an international jury of mathematicians, will be written on Wednesday, July 12 and Thursday, July 13 and the medals awarded on Monday, July 17. The contest consists of two exams, each consisting of three questions on each day with a time limit of four and one-half hours. "It is a highly challenging mathematical "hexathlon" and these are our Canadian mathletes," commented Wright.

The team will be accompanied by the Team Leader, Mr. Robert Morewood (Crofton House School, Vancouver (British Columbia), and the Deputy Team Leader, Mr. Naoki Sato (AoPS Incorporated).

Canada first sent a team to an IMO competition in 1981 (Washington, USA). Since then, Canadian students have done very well, receiving a total of 16 gold, 29 silver, and 57 bronze medals. At last year's IMO in Mérida, (Mexico), the Canadian team placed 19th out of the 91 competing countries and won five medals.

"These competitions allow Canadian high school students to compare their results with the best of those in other countries," said Dr. George Bluman, University of British Columbia and Chair of the CMS Mathematical Competitions Committee. "It should be noted that Canadian students do very well even though in many countries high school finishes at age 19."

The six students will be attending a special IMO Training Camp at Dalhousie University from June 24 to July 2 and an IMO Team Send-off Luncheon will be held on June 27 at 12:00 PM. The media can meet the team at 12:00 noon on June 27 at the University Club (3rd Floor), Dalhousie University. The team will leave for Slovenia on July 2 and will return to Canada on July 18.

Sponsors of the 2006 Canadian IMO team include: the Canadian Mathematical Society; NSERC PromoScience; the Ontario Ministry of Education; Alberta Learning; Nova Scotia Department of Education; the Newfoundland and Labrador Ministry of Education; the Quebec Ministry of Education; the Northwest Territories Ministry of Education; the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education; Sun Life Financial; the Samuel Beatty Fund; Maplesoft; Centre de recherches mathématiques; the Fields Institute; the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Dalhousie University; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Calgary; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New Brunswick at Fredericton; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Ottawa; the Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto; the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, University of Waterloo and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, York University.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Graham P. Wright
Executive Director
Canadian Mathematical Society
Tel: (613) 562-5702
Cel: (613) 290-3046
Dr. George Bluman
Chair - MCC Committee
Department of Mathematics
University of British Columbia
Tel: (604) 822-3044

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