Flaunting their champion cups and medals that proclaim them as winners at international level, the young prodigies could not stop grinning.

“One look at the sprawling auditorium of the Chennai Trade Centre packed with close to 3,500 children, all vying to grab top honours, sent shivers down my spine. I was nervous and thought it was almost impossible to make a mark when every child sitting there was out to prove the genius in him,” recalled Pranav Bang, an eighth class student of Delhi Public School Vijayawada, at a press conference here on Wednesday.

Seven children from Krishna district emerged winners at the ninth International Mental and Arithmetic Competition held at Chennai recently. They competed with peers drawn from 14 countries, including Indonesia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, China, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Dubai, Malaysia and the UAE.

“A total number of 400 children from Andhra Pradesh participated and bagged 131 medals in various categories of the mind test. The State is only second to Maharashtra in the medals’ tally,” said J. Sampath Kumar, area partner, SIP Academy India Private Limited.

“My basic idea of joining Abacus classes was to improve my mathematical abilities. But the brain arithmetic has enhanced my over-all academic performance,” said an elated K. Kushal Krishna, an eighth class student of Sri Telaprolu Bapanaiah High School. “Initially, I was nervous to see such a large crowd. But the exercises in the brain gym helped me relax and calm down,” he said.

M. Sowmya, N.S. Shanmukha Sarma, T. Aditya Krishna, G. Yashwanth and D. Bharat Kumar are the other winners.

They all had one thing in common – fear of numbers that never allowed them to evince interest in mathematics. Aged between six and 12 years, the girls and boys then discovered the magic of abacus and mental arithmetic that helped them conquer their fears. “It stimulates the brain of young children providing them a solid foundation in mathematical and logical reasoning. It also improves numerical memory and helps in solving general mathematical problems taught in elementary school besides developing concentration and visualisation,” explained Mr. Sampath Kumar.

The awards function was graced by Kelvin Tham, founder of SIP Academy and Brain Gym instructor from Malaysia. The Indian chapter of the Malaysia-based SIP Academy has 500 centres across 20 states which impart training to 1,25,000 kids.

For more details about the local SIP office, district manager of SIP Academy Madhusudhana Rao can be contacted on 92464-74989.

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