A young Pietermaritzburg science boffin will soon be jetting off to Indonesia to represent the country against 300 international competitors in the International Junior Science Olympiad.
Raisethorpe High School pupil Vihar Manicum (15) was chosen as part of a delegation of six South African pupils who scored top marks at the national leg of the Olympiad in August.
The other five team members are also from KwaZulu-Natal, but Vihar said he obtained the highest mark in the group, making him the Olympiad’s top achiever this year.
The team will leave for Bali in December.
Speaking about the national leg, the Grade 10 pupil said the contents of the test were “above [his] classroom level” but he breezed through it.
“I was really shocked when I heard I had got top marks and would be chosen to represent the country. I did not expect to do so well,” Vihar said.
“You hear of all these pupils who have done well in Olympiads but you never think you are of that calibre.”
Vihar said his parents were also taken aback by the result.
A former Orient Heights Primary School pupil, Vihar said he has consistently obtained “good marks” at school but he is now looking forward to competing against pupils from 50 countries.
“I am a little nervous because I am going into uncharted territory when it comes to the standard of work,” he said.
“I am looking forward to experiencing the way of life and culture in Bali and I am excited about the planned excursions during the trip.”
Vihar, who studies Physical Science, Life Sciences, Accounting and Mathematics in addition to his core subjects, said he enjoys gaming and spending time outdoors.
“I only recently developed a passion for physics,” he said.
Although he is unsure about what he wants to do after finishing school, Vihar said he would like to attend university and do a science-related degree.
“My dream is to get a job in the gaming industry. I am going to miss my friends and family in the 10 days that I am away.” email@example.com