Another SA Gold From Athens

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September 21, 2004

Itumeleng Mogaki - Johannesburg

A South African student has brought home a gold medal from the International Olympiad in Informatics in Athens.
Four South African students have returned home after competing against 296 participants from 79 countries in the 16th International Olympiad in Informatics in Greece.
Peter Waker, chairman of the SA Computer Olympiad Committee, says Gauteng's Richard Starfield was awarded a gold medal and was named one of the top 20 students at the event.
Starfield was a pupil at King David High School in Johannesburg when he participated in the SA Computer Olympiad in 2003. He won the silver medal in the local competition, and qualified to compete in the International competition in Athens this year.
"The four who were sent to Athens were the top performers who came through a selection process that started with more than 12 000 participants in the first round of the SA Computer Olympiad," says Waker. "The participants need to demonstrate their ability to solve problems by writing appropriate computer programs."
"The first day of the international competition was very tough for our four students, and no one managed to get a good score. The second day was a bit easier as Richard, whom we are very proud of, managed to score 285 out of a possible 300," says team leader Bruce Merry.
"For Richard to bring back a gold medal is reassuring that it is possible to compete at a high international level. This should encourage and motivate others to fully participate in the Computer Olympiad," says Waker.
"Richard is currently studying for a BSc degree at Wits. He joins the three South African students who previously won International Olympiad gold medals."
Other participants from SA were:

* Marco Gallotta, previously of Rondebosch Boys High School, and now a BSc student at the University of Cape Town.

* Linden Loots, previously of Parel Vallei High School, and now a BEng student at the University of Stellenbosch.

* Nicholas Pilkington, previously of Hilton College, and now a BSc student at Rhodes University.