“What he does is as good or better than anybody in the league without a doubt,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.Capela leads the NBA this postseason in blocks (2.8 a game) and offensive rebounds (4.1 per contest). He’s fourth with 12.2 rebounds a game overall and his 14.4 point average in the playoffs ranks third on the Rockets behind James Harden and Chris Paul. This came after a regular season where the fourth-year player posted career highs in virtually every statistical category. He averaged 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in helping the Rockets to 65 wins and their first No. 1 seed in franchise history.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“What he does has been unbelievable,” D’Antoni said. “And he’ll be overlooked. They’ll say he’s a role player and it’s not true.”The Rockets insist that their high-powered, three-point centered offense wouldn’t work the way it does without the 6-foot-10 Capela. His work as the finisher in Houston’s pick and roll has proven valuable in the playoffs so far. His prowess in that area was on full display in Houston’s Game 5 win that eliminated the Timberwolves in the first round. He shot 12 of 14 and finished with a game-high 26 points to help Houston to the 122-104 victory. “Just having fun and also sending a message that it’s still my paint,” Capela said with a laugh.Capela has had at least one block in each of Houston’s playoff games this season and tied a career-best with six in Game 4 against the Jazz. Most impressive about that performance is that five of those blocks came in the last three minutes to help Houston secure the road victory.He said that shot-blocking barrage was the product of his getting upset after receiving a rare technical earlier in the fourth quarter when he got tangled up with Donovan Mitchell and the two did a little jawing at each other.“Whenever I got a little into it with this guy from the other team, it fired me up a little bit and I just decided that they wouldn’t score anymore, not in my paint,” he said. “So this is what happened.”Capela is happy with his improvement this season, but far from satisfied with his play. He knows he’ll have to keep getting better if the Rockets hope to reach the NBA finals.“I’m just trying to be more consistent every game,” he said. “I think during the playoffs I’ve gotten better with my intensity and by doing that I thought that our team got better too.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew FILE – In this May 4, 2018, file photo, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) defends against Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) during the first half in Game 3 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in Salt Lake City. The league is taking notice that Capela is one of the pivotal pieces to Houston’s success as the team prepares for its showdown with Golden State in the Western Conference finals starting Monday. “What he does is as good or better than anybody in the league without a doubt,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)HOUSTON — Houston’s Clint Capela certainly isn’t a household name, and doesn’t get nearly the attention other centers like Ruby Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns receive.But after he outshined those stars the first two rounds of the playoffs, the league is taking notice that Capela is one of the pivotal pieces to Houston’s success as the team prepares for its showdown with Golden State in the Western Conference finals starting Monday.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film BanKo stuns Creamline for season opening win Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations LATEST STORIES Harden has often said this season that Capela is the player that makes everything else work for the Rockets, and said Friday that he’s undoubtedly developed into one of the league’s best centers.“For sure,” Harden said. “He’s done it for the last few years and he’s definitely showing it now in the postseason. You’ve got guys that just are comfortable with being in the NBA and you’ve got guys that actually want to have a legacy and Clint’s one of those guys.”To that end Capela is constantly trying to learn and add new wrinkles to his game. He was always picking the brain of eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard when he backed him up in his first two NBA seasons and he’s developed a close relationship with former Rockets star and Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon. Capela can often be seen working with and talking to Olajuwon at practice and Capela said Olajuwon has been impressed with the 23-year-old’s progress.“He just said I was great and playing with confidence and energy and to keep it up,” Capela said.While the Capela sees Olajuwon as one of his top mentors, he also appreciates a particular skill of another former Rocket. There are times after Capela blocks a shot that he wags one of his long fingers in the air as Dikembe Mutombo often did during his more than decade-long career in the NBA.ADVERTISEMENT China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award View comments
Bob Baker is president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Given that Los Angeles politicians are not known for keeping a low profile, it is confounding that there has been little outcry in Los Angeles about Assembly Bill 1882, which is aimed solely at increasing the authority of the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department. The LAWA police have used an end run around the city to go straight to the state. The Assembly passed the bill in late May, and it will go before the Senate as early as June 13. This isn’t just a housekeeping issue. Giving the LAWA police the authority they are looking for would put Angelenos and travelers at risk. It would prevent the experienced Los Angeles Police Department from taking charge in any catastrophe or natural disaster at the airport, and instead put that responsibility into the hands of a small police force that has limited experience beyond handling unattended baggage, shoplifting and dignitary escorts. Right now, LAWA police have concurrent jurisdiction over the airport, meaning that in a disaster based at Los Angeles International Airport, they would have to coordinate their response with the LAPD. Under the change they are seeking, they would have primary jurisdiction at the airport and would have to invite the LAPD to work with them. Chains of command are crucial in an emergency. The lesson of Hurricane Katrina is how much can go wrong when the chains of command are interrupted, when emergency responders are not on the same wavelength, and when the first stage of the emergency response is an elaborate dance about who is in charge. To remove the airport from a chain of command that leads to the LAPD chief is to invite disaster. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2There are also training issues. The LAWA Police Department has almost no recent field experience with major incidents. The airport police might be trained to respond to emergencies, but it is their LAPD counterparts who have the real-world experience in actually responding. Without concurrent jurisdiction, these qualified LAPD officers would only be able to respond if they were invited by LAWA police. Otherwise, the LAPD is literally forced to stop at the airport border. The LAWA police pride themselves on being a proactive instead of a reactive force, but in the case of an emergency, Los Angeles needs the ability to bring in police officers who know how to respond and react. The LAWA police understand the issues of airport crimes, and the LAPD agrees that they need more autonomy at the airport and surrounding streets. The LAPD has offered to sign a revised memorandum of agreement with LAWA that would give the LAWA police jurisdictional clarity. But, instead, LAWA has gone to the state, thinking that state legislators would give them what they want, without regard for what is best for Los Angeles. We hope that state senators will come to the realization that the Legislature has no business legislating an agreement between two local law enforcement jurisdictions. We hope senators will return this issue to the city, where it belongs. Then, we urge our colleagues at the LAWA police to sign the memorandum of agreement that sets out guidelines for how the two police departments can work together. With this agreement updated and in place, we can move forward to the very real business of preparing for the kind of emergencies that we hope will never happen.
THIS EVENING’S COUNTY U21 final clash between St Eunan’s and Kilcar – pencilled in for Ardara – has been postponed again.The pitch in Ardara is waterlogged.The fixture was postponed last week due to Storm Eva. Now Storm Frank has claimed the revised fixture. U21 COUNTY FINAL POSTPONED AGAIN was last modified: December 30th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:U21 final
An unholy row has broken out after a church singer claims she was ‘verbally attacked’ by a priest for singing a popular song in honour of dead relatives.Singer SaraSara Laughlin claims she was shouted at by Fr. Shane Gallagher after singing the popular hit song ‘Voice of an Angel.’However Father Gallagher has disputed what went on, telling Donegal Daily that he felt he had been cyber-bullied by others commenting about the incident on Facebook. Teacher Sara performed the song at St Bridget’s Church in Lettermacaward, Co Donegal as part of an anniversary Mass for her late grandmother and uncle.But after the Mass on Saturday evening, Sara was asked to come into the sacristy of the church by Fr. Gallagher, she says.A disagreement ensued which Sara claims left her in tears, she told Donegal Daily.St Bridget’s Church in LettermacawardSara, a teacher and also director of the Donegal Youth Choir, alleged that Fr Gallagher said he did not want the ‘Sarah McLochlan song’ performed in the church. However Sara explained it was written by Fr Liam Lawton and was actually in her hymn book.Sara broke down and cried but now says she was then verbally attacked by the priest who allegedly told her “play all your emotions.”When Sara explained the song was for her late grandmother and uncle the priest, she claims he simply said “big deal” and when she said she was leaving he replied “great…go.”The church singer took to Facebook and has been inundated with messages of support and also outrage and anger towards the priest who allegedly attacked Sara.She said one of the reasons she posted a message on Facebook was to let people know why she would not be singing in the church ever again. “I have never been so insulted and spoken to in such a manner in my life! I treat the Mass with great dignity and respect and it means the world to me,” she said.“I have not been able to stop crying and shaking since.“I am gutted, shaken to the core, insulted, hurt, sad, afraid, bewildered and unable to stop crying! I am writing this so people will know why our voices won’t be heard in the chapel so close to our hearts anymore and it is with a heavy heart I write it,” said Sara.She has even received a message of support from Fr Liam Lawton who wrote the song. The priest said he read Sara’s message with great sadness and said her gift and talent far outweighed the injustice which has been done to her.And Father Lawton pleaded “Please don’t allow one person to destroy what you have to offer. You need to concentrate on your beauty and gift as, long, long after this experience is over and forgotten you will continue to touch hearts and lives with your beautiful gift.“And for what it’s worth you sing “Voice of an Angel” just like I imagined it should be sung when I wrote it.”She has received huge support from many in her local community.Last night many well-wishers called to her home to show support for the well-known choir singer following the incident.Many have encouraged her to report the matter to the Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Philip Boyce.Sara’s mother Eileen also witnessed the alleged incident along with her husband Chris, a well-known businessman in the Lettermacaward area.Eileen said she is “absolutely heartbroken” at what she witnessed.But she has vowed to have the matter “dealt with.”“The mass tonight was for my mum and my brother, who we lost at the age of 22. I asked Sara to sing the hymn ‘the voice of an angel’ for my mum tonight and I turned to my sister and said with tears in my eyes “this is for mum”.“We all love the music of Fr Liam Lawton so much and that hymn is so special as we think of mum and Tony as our angels in the darkness we have already had to face in life.“I am saddened to the core. Already the support of the community has been overwhelming and heartwarming and there is no way that this will not be dealt with. Thanks so much to all the people who have visited the house and showed their support,” she said.However Fr Gallagher said there is two sides to every story and said some of what Sara claimed is simply not true.He said he is considering issuing statement on the issue and if that statement is forthcoming, Donegal Daily will publish it in full.DONEGAL PRIEST AND CHOIR SINGER IN UNHOLY ROW OVER SONG was last modified: October 7th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Palmdale and Los Angeles County officials presented an overview of the result of the initial study to officials of the state Transportation Department officials, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city of Lancaster. “It (further study) is going to require a team effort,” said Lancaster Mayor Frank Roberts, who is also an MTA board member. “It’s too big for one entity.” Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, whose district includes the Antelope Valley, also believes the idea merits further study. Antonovich, also an MTA board member, noted that immediately after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, Antelope Valley residents struggled to get to their jobs in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Basin. “In case of an emergency, you need to look at having another route out of the Antelope Valley,” Antonovich said. “My interest is in working to see if we have alternatives for the Antelope Valley to get down below. We need to plan ahead.” Such a highway could attract anywhere from 43,500 to 55,200 vehicles a day by 2050. That would represent 30 percent to 40 percent of all the Antelope Valley traffic traveling to the Los Angeles Basin. The highway would face intense environmental scrutiny because about 90 percent of it would lie in the Angeles National Forest. In addition, its southern end is proposed to join the Glendale Freeway by a tunnel beneath homes in La Caada Flintridge, where residents and officials have regularly voiced objections to past highway plans. La Caada Flintridge officials said their community would oppose any project that increases traffic on the Foothill Freeway. “Their needs have to be considered,” Antonovich said. “This has to relieve congestion, not contribute to congestion.” The initial study, conducted by URS Corp., shows the northern end of the highway starting on the Antelope Valley Freeway northeast of Acton, near the Soledad Canyon Road exit. The initial study concluded that charging motorists tolls would likely raise $1.45 billion over 30 years, making the project unattractive to private investors. Putting together the entire funding package would take about 15 to 20 years. The study concluded that an all-tunnel design was technically unfeasible, but that a hybrid design with conventional roads plus two lengthy tunnel segments, the longest at five miles, could be feasible. At $1.9 billion, the tunnel construction would be the most expensive part of the project. Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743 email@example.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PALMDALE – A proposed highway from Palmdale to Glendale warrants further study, despite its $3.1 billion price tag, Antelope Valley leaders say. An initial design concept and feasibility study funded by Palmdale and Los Angeles County concluded that funding and building such a highway would be difficult, but that it is technically feasible. Palmdale officials said they would ask other entities to join with them in pursuing a more detailed feasibility study for the 23-mile-long highway. An exact cost of such a study hasn’t been pinned down, but some estimates range from about $2 million to $3 million. “We will send out letters to the various agencies to see if there is interest in pursuing a study,” said Leon Swain, Palmdale’s director of public works. “We realize it is not our immediate priority, but we need to be looking down the road.”
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The six-week course meets on Tuesdays. The costs is $48 For more information, call (562) 464-3430. UFC Halloween bash not open to public WHITTIER. — United Friends of the Children has announced that its Halloween bash is not open to the public. UFC officials said they mistakenly released information that the event was public. However, officials Friday said attendance at the party is restricted due to privacy concerns. The organization’s Pathways Transitional Living Program provides services to former foster youth. Help offered to apply for U.S. citizenship WHITTIER — Permanent legal residents who want to become U.S. citizens can now get help in completing paperwork. The Los Angeles County Citizenship Assistance Campaign will help people complete citizenship applications at no charge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at Los Nietos Community and Senior Service Center, 11640 E. Slauson Ave. For more information, call (562) 699-9898.. Care hospice training to be held Nov. 5, 12 SANTA FE SPRINGS — Care hospice training for volunteers will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 at Companion Hospice Care, 10330 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 210. Volunteers will be trained on how to provide comfort, compassion and caring in a non-judgmental and supportive way while empowering terminal patients to retain their dignity and integrity. Each applicant will receive 16 hours of orientation and training. There are also clerical positions available that do not require the 16-hour training. For more information, call Deanna at (562) 944-2711 or visit www.CompanionHospice.com.. Zen master to share insight, experience WHITTIER — American Zen master Robert Moore will share insights and stories from his more than 20 years of experience during a presentation at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at Aikido Ai, 6725 Comstock Ave. Moore, a longtime music professor at USC, is a certified master in tai chi, qigong …and other internal Taoist …techniques. The program will begin with a tai chi demonstration and include refreshments afterward. For more information, call Aikido Ai at (562) 696-1838.. Cancer Society office seeks volunteer staff WHITTIER — Volunteers are being sought for the Whittier branch of the American Cancer Society, located on the lower level of Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, 12401 Washington Blvd. The branch is staffed entirely by volunteers, and more help is needed. Those who are dependable and can commit to working four hours per week are asked to call (562) 776-3312.. -From staff reports160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA FE SPRINGS — A weekday parking restriction on Roseton Avenue between Clarkman Street and Florence Avenue has been approved by the Santa Fe Springs City Council. Roseton Avenue residents presented a petition to the city in July, asking for no parking from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The council approved the request Thursday.. Bance and Associatesto build City Hall roof LA MIRADA The La Mirada City Council has awarded a $37,256 contract to Bance and Associates to build a new roof on City Hall. This was the second time the city has sought bids. In August, the city received a lone bid of $80,429 and the council rejected it.. Tai chi class to begin Tuesday in Whittier WHITTIER — Whittier Community Center’s adult tai chi class will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the center, 7630 Washington Ave.
WHITTIER – Dental, spinal and diabetes screenings were among the free services offered at a health fair hosted Saturday by the Salvation Army and other area health providers. More than 100 people attended the annual event, with most attendees visiting the Joshua Medical Group table, where free flu vaccinations were given. “It is a community service we want to provide,” Joshua Medical Group administrator Clifford Schmidt said. Zenda Chanhsomphou, 16, and Eddie Souriyasack, 13, attended the event with their grandmother, who promptly signed them up for flu shots. “You go first,” Souriyasack said to his older cousin Chanhsomphou, who looked a little nervous about the needle. “It kind of tickled,” she said afterwards. Six-year-old Caleb Garn did not agree. His cries could be heard throughout the building while his father held him close as the shot was administered. In addition to dental screenings, the UCLA Dental School offered free sealant to children. “Sealant and fluoride protect the teeth from getting cavities,” dental hygienist Camille Caliva said. “They strengthen the teeth.” UCLA Dental School faculty member Nancy Reitel said about 42 adults and children received evaluations at the event. “The visual evaluations help people who don’t always know if they need to see a dentist. And we answer any questions they may have,” she said. A screening test was also given by a respiratory therapist from the Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital. Patients breathed into a disposable green tube to test lung and airway function. “It also tells us if there is any indication for asthma,” respirator therapist Tinh Le said. Chiropractor Wendy Kreider said she provided about 25 to 30 spinal and postural screenings. “And a lot of consulting,” she said. “I gave people information about exercises they could do for low back and neck pain.” The clinic was intended to make sure people without health insurance had at least some access to healthcare workers, said Paul Tan of the Salvation Army. Other partners who participated in the fair were Willow Center Imaging, Vision Plus and the Intercommunity Child Guidance Center. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
The Shower Man, Brian Gillespie, pictured with his wife Annette at last year’s business showcase event in the Clanree Hotel.Businesses from all over Donegal are being invited to promote their enterprises at a special showcase in the Mount Errigal Hotel on Friday November 28th organised by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO).The November event follows a similar successful event in The Clanree Hotel last year when businesses from all over Donegal attended the showcase and availed of the opportunity to network with other businesses in the county.“Last year’s event was the first of its kind we had organised and was the beginning of a sequence of events to highlight how people are doing business in Donegal,” said Michael Tunney, Head of Local Enterprise. He added that this year’s event in the Mount Errigal, will be even better for businesses because, this time, the event will also be open to the public.“In the LEO Donegal we have always been diligent to respond to the needs of business in the county and taking on board the feedback we received from last year’s excellent showcase we have made some changes and improvements this year.One of the main changes is that – after a morning opportunity for businesses to network between 10am and 12 noon – the event will then be open to the public to giving businesses an opportunity to also trade on the day.”In addition, he explained that it will be free for businesses to attend, and there will not be an admission charge to the public who wish to attend either. “This really is a fantastic and free opportunity for businesses, not only to network with other businesses in the county, but also to trade and showcase their enterprise to the public who can come along on the day also for free.”However, Mr Tunney did stress that places at the event are strictly limited and insisted that with demand certain to exceed supply, businesses would need to register as a matter of urgency.“News of this event was just released by LEO recently and bookings for places immediately started to flood in. I would urge businesses who are keen not to pass up this fantastic free opportunity to register right away by contacting Danny at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 074 9160735.” FANTASTIC FREE SHOWCASE OPPORTUNITY FOR BUSINESSES IN DONEGAL was last modified: October 11th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BusinessdonegalLEOshowcase event
Some of the 560 contestants from over 100 different countries writing the first test at the 2014 International Mathematical Olympiad, held at the University of Cape Town in early July. (Image: IMO2014)• Marisa LouwHead of communicationIMO2014+27 72 987 email@example.comLorraine KearneyGrade 12 student Robin Visser did South Africa proud, earning a bronze medal in the International Mathematical Olympiad 2014 (IMO2014), held at the University of Cape Town over the past week.The medals were handed out at the closing ceremony on Saturday evening, after a week of rigorous work and serious fun. The annual event – held in July each year – is more than just a contest for the world’s brightest young maths minds: it is also a time to build networks and forge bonds. Friendships and collaboration from the week carry on into later life as the students become leaders in their fields internationally.Visser, a pupil at St George’s Grammar School in Cape Town, joins the other medalists, led by Alexander Grunning from Australia, Jiyang Gao from the People’s Republic of China and Po-Sheng Wu from Taiwan, each with a score of 42 points, or 100%. A total of 295 medals were awarded at the closing ceremony: 49 gold, with a score of 29 or more points; 113 silver, with a score of 22 to 28 points; and 133 bronze, with a score of 16 to 21 points.Speaking after the medals were handed out, Visser said: “It was a great privilege to participate, and we are pleased with our results. It was very tough, but we did the best that we could.” The IMO is considered to be the world’s hardest Olympiad for high school students. Participating, Visser said, “is something which I’m grateful for and which I can only attribute to hard work, perseverance and determination”.The South African team had learned how to think about problems in a different way, and how other countries approached problems. “We learned how to manage our time better,” said teammate Sanjiv Ranchod. “It was a really great experience. There were lots of different cultures and South Africa got to showcase itself.”Robin Visser, a pupil at St George’s Grammar School in Cape Town, won a bronze medal for South Africa. (Image: Lorraine Kearney)Top marksAustralia’s Grunning was modest about his score. “I did this paper well,” he said. “I don’t know if I would have done another paper well because I only wrote this one. But I am pleased.” Taiwanese Wu was delighted: “I am overwhelmed. I must thank my family, my teacher and my school.” All of the winners agreed that “the best way to get better at maths is to practice”.A total of 101 countries participated. Out of the 560 contestants, 56 were female. Even though the IMO is a competition for individuals, the countries are also ranked based on the teams’ collective individual results. The top five countries in ranking order were: People’s Republic of China, the United States, Taiwan, the Russian Federation and Japan. South Africa was ranked 64th, receiving four honourable mentions – solving at least one problem completely – and a bronze medal.Hosting the event in South Africa, the first time it was held in Africa, was seen as a positive way to inspire pupils and students to do maths, which was “so important to the world, especially the developing world”, said Sandra Klopper, UCT’s vice-chancellor.Some of the gold medal winners at the Olympiad. (Image: Lorraine Kearney)On the right trackBasic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was confident that participants were future leaders and revolutionaries. “Our department prioritises maths because of its impact on the development strategy of our country,” she said. “I know that education is not of the quality we would like, especially maths, science and technology, but we are making continual improvements. I am convinced we will get better and hold our own in the world.”Such competitions were important as they helped to benchmark South Africa against the world: “We get a feel of where we are as a country and where the world is; we get geared to run the race.” She also offered to swap numbers with prospective maths teachers: “I have a bursary for you.”For the country to improve its results, her department would continue doing what it was doing and had planned. “We are implementing the recommendations [from our commission]; we are talking to universities and continuing to benchmark internationally. We are putting in place programmes to continue what we’re doing more intensively. We are on the right track.”Already strong partnerships with higher education and the private sector were also being strengthened, particularly in the creation of teaching materials and reaching the target of one book for each schoolchild.The world’s oldest and toughest OlympiadDuring their time in Cape Town, the students spent two days writing papers. They also toured the peninsula, visited Ocean View township and learned African games and music.The IMO, the oldest, toughest Olympiad, is the world championship maths competition for youths under 20, and is hosted by a different country each year. It was first held in 1959 in Romania, with seven countries participating. It has gradually expanded to over 100 countries from five continents. It was hosted by the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) at UCT from 3 July. The contestants returned home yesterday. The IMO’s main sponsors were the Department of Basic Education, Google, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the South African National Roads Agency Limited and Sasol.Prof Johann Engelbrecht, the executive director of the SAMF, agreed that “not everything is going well” in education in South Africa, but pointed out that many things were working already. “One of our big problems is that we are not using our current generation to inspire the next generation. We must try to raise the status of the current maths teachers.”One of the ways of doing this is through competitions. UCT’s Prof John Webb, the director of IMO2014 and a member of the IMO Advisory Board, said: “We have found that maths competitions and enormously effective and cost-effective in generating interest in maths. South Africa has been sending teams to the IMO for 20 years; now the past teams are training the teams of today.”Off to ThailandThe 56th IMO will be held in Chiang Mai, in Thailand, from 3 to 15 July 2015. The South African team will be announced by the end of May next year and team members will be selected from the top performing pupils in this year’s South African Mathematics Olympiad. It is an annual competition for high school students, as well as youngsters who perform well in other SAMF programmes.Engelbrecht encouraged teachers to enter their pupils in the South African Olympiad. “Learners will be exposed to problems that will test and improve their critical thinking skills,” he said. “Schools will also benefit from learners’ participation in that they will get a better quality of product. Last but not least are the Grade 12 learners, who will specifically benefit because the questions are similar to those at university level.”Registration for next year’s South African Mathematics Olympiad opens in January 2015 and schools that would like to enter their pupils can contact the SAMF office on 012 392 9362 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.