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.