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Boy wins championship in abacus contest

Staff Reporter
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Going places:K. Dhanush Balaaji of Coimbatore.— PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN
Going places:K. Dhanush Balaaji of Coimbatore.— PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN

K. Dhanush Balaaji’s nimble, fast fingers have taken him places. This time to Pune, where he won the championship in the Level 2 B competition in abacus.

A release from his abacus training institute, SIP Abacus and Brain Gym, says that he won the prize at the SIP Academy’s Ninth National Prodigy, where around 4,200 students participated in various levels.

His task was to complete 80 addition and subtraction problems in five minutes. The student who gets the maximum correct answers at the shortest possible time is declared the winner, says Balaaji’s mother C. Ramathilagam, who has supported him in the run up to the competition. His father, K. Kumar, is a quality control manager at a manufacturing industry.

In fact, it was she who enrolled him in an abacus institute in their neighbourhood in Saravanampatty. “I encouraged him to join an abacus coaching class after finding him do math with interest,” she recalls. This was a year ago.

In the past year, Balaaji had attended abacus training session for over an hour every week to master the arts of moving beads to solve simple mathematical problems. The boy says that he first competed at the city level, where he won the competition. He then went to the State-level competition, where he emerged the first runner up.

His success at the two events made him go for the national event in Pune, adds Ms. Ramathilagam.

At the competition, Balaaji completed 79 of the 80 problems within the five minutes. And had 74 of them correct. “I went slow because I did not want to commit mistakes,” he says. His mother adds: at the training sessions, he completed 85 or 86 sums with around 20 seconds to spare but at the competition, for the fear of committing errors, he went slow.

The nine-year-old is now the fourth level in abacus, which involves division. His aim is to study astronomy as planets interest him. This probably has to do with his social science teacher, R. Shalini, at the Suguna PIP School, says his mother.

Balaaji loves Ms. Shalini’s teaching so much he takes extra interest in studying social science. His other interests include watching wildlife and environment programmes.

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