Yaseen Mowzer, a Grade 9 learner at Fairbairn College, Goodwood, Cape Town succeeded in beating all but one of the 4 747 entries in this year’s Standard Bank Programming Olympiad. He was beaten only by Gold Medal winner Guy Paterson-Jones, a Grade 12 learner at Bishops.

Mowzer is a regular participant in Maths competitions, but this is the first time the talented youngster has taken part in the Programming Olympiad.

“To come this close to winning at the first attempt, and that from a Grade 9 learner is phenomenal,” says Peter Waker, the Computer Olympiad manager.

Guy Paterson-Jones, the overall winner of the Programming Olympiad is in Grade 12 at Diocesan College (Bishops). Unlike the other participants, Guy’s first passion is not computing or mathematics. He is an avid rock climber and can often be found scaling mountain cliffs that require him to use his climbing skills to the limit.

Waker adds: “It is remarkable that only two of the six finalists are in Grade 12. All the others are in lower Grades and are self–taught. All of them used Python, the computer language Mark Shuttleworth used to write the program that made him a multi-billionaire.”

The medal winners were:

* Gold the Standard Bank Trophy and R37 000 prize money – Guy Paterson-Jones Grade 12, Bishops, Cape Town;

* Silver and R25 000 – Yaseen Mowzer, Grade 9, Fairbairn College, Cape Town;

* Silver and R25 000 – Shaylan Lalloo, Grade 12, Pearson High, Port Elizabeth;

* Bronze and R13 000 – Ulrik de Muelenaere, Grade 10, Waterkloof High, Pretoria;

* Bronze and R13 000 – Darren Roos, Pretoria Chinese School, Pretoria; and

* Bronze and R13 000 – Robin Visser, Grade 11, St George’s Grammar School, Cape Town.

The runners-up were Jonathan Alp, Grade 11, Parklands College, Cape Town; Matthew Cherry, Grade 12, St Dominic’s Priory, Port Elizabeth; Frederik du Toit, Grade10, Centurion High, Centurion; Pieter Kok, Grade 10, Centurion High, Centurion; Demetre Liakos, Grade11, Selly Park Secondary, Rustenburg; Jan De Wet Linde, Grade 12, Jim Fouché High, Bloemfontein; Kiuran Naidoo, Grade 12, Clifton School, Durban; Thomas Orton, Grade11, Bishops, Cape Town; and Ryno Swart, Grade 12, Durbanville High, Durbanville.