A unique lockdown success story - a fan makes the same team as their role model

Tuesday 09th March 2021 05:27 EST

13-year old Aanya Goyal, a pupil at Alleyn's School in Dulwich, has been chosen as one of the four pre-university students to represent the UK at the European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO), which is being organised by Georgia this year.

Aanya is the youngest ever to make the UK team for the EGMO. The previous record for the youngest student to represent the UK at this competition was 15.

Aanya credits her success to the hard work she has put over the years. Aanya has had regular success at maths olympiads starting with a gold medal at the UKMT Junior Maths Olympiad three years back when she was still at primary school.

Aanya says that she was determined to make the UK team at some stage during her secondary schooling but was not expecting to do so at such a young age. Incredibly, Aanya says that the lockdown played a positive role in her early promotion as being stuck at home and with nowhere to go meant that she spent her summer holidays and the lockdown periods to polish her problem solving skills under the tutelage of her father, a maths coach and former olympian himself.

Another incredibly interesting feature of Aanya's story is that one of her role models for the past few years - Yuhka Machino, who was last year recognised as the world's best female mathematician - is one of the other three members on the UK team alongside Aanya. Aanya recalls her first meeting with Yuhka two years back when Aanya introduced herself to Yuhka as Yuhka's biggest fan. Aanya says that she never thought she could be in the same team as Yuhka.

The selection to the UK team is based on a series of exams organised by the UK Mathematics Trust. Over 600,000 secondary school students across the UK write the UKMT challenges every year. Only the top 1000, typically sixth formers, are invited to the British Mathematical Olympiad in November each year. Of these the top 100 are invited to Round 2 of the British Mathematical Olympiad next January. This is a 3.5 hours competition comprising 4 challenging problems. Aanya achieved a Distinction and was ranked among the top 4 girls leading to her selection for the UK team for the EGMO. The other three girls on the UK team are all sixth-formers while Aanya is still in Year 9.Aanya is the first British Indian to make the UK team for the EGMO.

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