Whizz-kid adds world ti­tle


MATHS whizz-kid Yahya Bal­lim out­smarted 400 competitors to be­come an aba­cus world cham­pion at the re­cent Global As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­panese Soroban and Men­tal Arith­metic (Ga­jsma) com­pe­ti­tion in Bangkok, Thai­land.

Us­ing only an an­cient Ja­panese aba­cus, the 10-year-old pupil from Clifton Prepara­tory School in Dur­ban was able to solve ad­di­tion, sub­trac­tion, divi­sion and mul­ti­pli­ca­tion sums within min­utes.

Notic­ing that their son had taken an in­ter­est in math­e­mat­ics from his older brother Yusuf Mo­hammed, his par­ents Ab­dul and Zak­erah Bal­lim en­rolled him into the Abagility Maths Club.

His proud mum said his tu­tor from the club helped him pre­pare for the com­pe­ti­tion.

“The com­pe­ti­tion is bro­ken down in two rounds. For the first round Yahya had six min­utes to an­swer 40 math­e­mat­i­cal ques­tions us­ing only the Ja­panese aba­cus. In the sec­ond round he had two min­utes to an­swer an­other set of math­e­mat­i­cal ques­tions, but this time he was not al­lowed to use the aba­cus and had to en­vi­sion it in his head. This is called the Azun,” ex­plained a proud Zak­erah.

She said her son had ob­tained 100% in both rounds.

An ex­cited Yahya, who one day hopes to pur­sue a ca­reer in busi­ness, said he found the com­pe­ti­tion to be chal­leng­ing. “I was very ner­vous. I found the com­pe­ti­tion to be of a high level. I am so thrilled I did so well.”

Apart from his love for maths, Yahya en­joys play­ing chess and with his PlayS­ta­tion. He is also a keen sports­man.

Dur­ing the week he also plays cricket, hockey, rugby, tennis and golf and at­tends reli­gious les­son.

“It may seem a lot, but any­thing’s pos­si­ble if you’re able to strike a bal­ance.”

Yahya Bal­lim with his tro­phies.

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