E.Lkhagvadulam: I never imagined I would set a Guinness world record
Acouple of years ago, Mongolians held the view that making it to the Guinness Book of Records would be very tough, even unattainable, but in recent years, many Mongolians have broken Guinness world records. One such individual is E.Lkhagvadulam, a 16-year-old girl who set the world record for five minutes binary event at the World Memory Championships last year. E.Lkhagvadulam is an international grandmaster and world record holder and has won nine medals from the World Memory Championships so far.
As she set a new world with a raw score of 5,597 in the binary digits event at the 2018 World Memory Championships, the 2018 Guinness Book of World Records features E.Lkhagvadulam’s achievement.
Her mother Z.Enkhtuya said, “I had hoped that my daughter had the potential to succeed in the 2018 World Memory Championships, and I felt nervous throughout the championships when my daughter participated in the championships. Today I am proud of my daughter for making brilliant achievements.”
Athlete of the Mongolian Master Minds Academy E.Lkhagvadulam sat down with Unuudur daily newspaper on January 3 to talk about her achievements and memory sport.
You moved to Ulaanbaatar with your family from Darkhan City last year. How did you celebrate the New Year’s Eve in Ulaanbaatar?
I celebrated the New Year’s Eve with my family and some relatives. This was a very exciting time. As I participated in 10 different events at the 27th World Memory Championship, held in Hong Kong from December 20 to 22, I earned four gold, one silver and four bronze medals -- this past year was amazing for my life. The Ulaanbaatar New Year’s Eve 2018 was very special as I had made some exciting achievements few days ago.
Have you ever imagined making such achievements?
I have never imagined such achievements. Of course, not only me but everybody wants to achieve the championships title, but I did not think about breaking a Guinness world record. Keeping track of your achievements in memory sport is not easy, which depends on how much you are training, as well as the command of your patience and emotions. During training, I memorized over 6,000 binary numbers in 30 minutes, which encouraged me to succeed in the championships. I wanted to set my personal best of 6,000 binary numbers during the championships, although I did what I expected, I approached my expectation. As I memorized 5,597 binary numbers at the championships, I broke a world record set by N.Enkhshur of Mongolia.
Would you explain more about the 30-minute binary digits event?
You have to memorize a sequence of binary digits (zero and one). What you need to memorize is something like 001, 10, 111, or 00. It means that you memorize a combination of zero and one. A sequence has 25 rows. Each row includes 30 binary digits, which means that a sequence includes 750 binary numbers. You have 30 minutes to memorize a sequence. The rule of this game is that you have to be able to recall what you memorized for an hour. How many numbers you remember in a row correctly without missing a number in a table depends on how much score you will get. An hour is not enough to remember each number in eight different binary matrices in which more than 6,000 binary digits are placed. It is a very short time to do that.
How did you feel when you were told that you set a new world record?
I was told this while on break with other Mongolians of our team after finishing the 30-minute binary digits
event. A Chinese memory athlete who competed with me in this event congratulated me for setting a new record by emailing a picture that said E.Lkhagvadulam of Mongolia has renewed a world record. This is how I heard of my success. That was an amazing moment for me. Once hearing good news from the Chinese athlete, I contacted my mother to share my victory with her, but she already knew about it. My mother knew about my victory on the official website of the championship before I told her about it as she always got on the website to get information about the results from the championship. On the next day, the International Association of Memory officially told me about my new record and that my victory will be included in the Guinness Book of Records.
What did your mother say when you spoke with her?
She said, “I am proud of my daughter.”
Are there any other Mongolian athletes that have set a new world record in memory sport for adults when he or she was younger than 16 years old?
Not yet so far.
You became an international grandmaster at 15 years old. How many young Mongolians have become international grandmasters?
I think there are seven or eight international grandmasters in Mongolia and most of them became grandmasters when they were 16 years old.
Would you tell us about your training? How many hours do you practice a day?
Memory athletes of most countries train 12 hours every day on average, but Mongolian athletes cannot practice like them for that period of time every day due to financial challenges. We only conduct an intensive training for a month before participating in international and world class events. There are more than 40,000 memory athletes in China, who practice for more than 10 hours per day, and the top 200 of them participate in the World Championships. The governments of many countries support their memory athletes. We have the potential to make more achievements if the state supports us. There are more than 400 memory athletes in Mongolia, but most of them cannot go to international competitions in memory sport because of financial issues. Most of the athletes that participated in the 2018 World Memory Championships were new athletes. They gained a lot of experience from the championships,
which will help them achieve in further international and world class championships.
Starting this year, you will compete in events for adults. Do you think you have the potential to maintain your performance or set a new record?
Everyone, not only me, has a lot of potential. What you reach depends on your hard work and patience. From young people to seniors, everybody is able to train in memory sport. Practicing memory sport will help you improve your memory, which is beneficial to your life in many ways. For example, if you practice memory sport, you don’t need to save phone numbers and savings account numbers somewhere. Memory athletes never save such things. If they memorize a number, they will never forget it. The athletes have the capability to recall the numbers whenever they need to.
Do you have a sponsor to support your training?
Ajnai Corporation has been sponsoring me since last year. I always appreciate Ajnai Corporation, Director of the Mongolian Master Minds Academy Kh.Khatanbaatar, my trainers
B.Baasandorj and U.Sengesamdan, and my mother for supporting me.
After you finished secondary school in 2018, you decided to not enroll in a university or college. Did you make this decision so that you can succeed in the memory sport? How did your family react to your decision?
I live with my mother. Me and my mother both made this decision. While studying, focusing on training is very difficult, which is why we decided to postpone my studies for a year. We see that our decision was right. If I enrolled in a university, I could not have achieved what I have done today.
What do you want to study at university?
I have not reached a decision about my study. I am confused about what to choose as I have several choices. I prefer to study engineering or banking and finance. The National University of Mongolia and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology have given me invitations to study, but I have not made a decision to choose either one. I am going abroad soon to improve my English. I am interested in studying abroad.
Which type of memory sport do you love?
I love all. A type of speed cards is getting interesting to me. Currently, B.Shijir-Erdene of Mongolia holds the world record for speed cards as he memorized a sequence of 52 different cards in 12.74 seconds.
Does your mother like memory sport? Does she try to practice this sport?
She never tried it and doesn’t like it, but she always provides me with all possible support for making more achievements. My mother always encourages me to achieve my goals.
How many medals have you won so far? Have you ever counted your medals?
I never counted them. Nearly 100, I think. I won more than 20 medals from the World Championships.
Mongolian memory athletes and twin sisters N.Enkhshur and N.Munkhshur participated in a famous TV show of Russia-1 Channel, and two other athletes, E.Enkhmunkh and S.Maral, challenged themselves on “Mongolia’s Got Talent”. Did you receive an invitation from a TV show or wish to challenge yourself by competing in a show like “Mongolia’s Got Talent”?
I haven’t received offers yet. I haven’t thought about competing in a TV show.
...Practicing memory sport will help you improve your memory, which
is beneficial to your life in many
Photo by G.ARGUUJIN