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Olympiad team?s nightmare

The organiser allegedly abandoned all 192 children from 32 countries participating in the Olympiad, reports HT Correspondent.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2006 03:02 IST

Six boys from city schools returned home from a science Olympiad late on Wednesday night with two silver medals, three bronze ones and a horror tale.
For 12 days, the Class 10 students were in Brazil, representing the country at the third International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) in Sao Paulo.

The Olympiad was a “chaotic” and “mismanaged” affair, complained parents, who had been anxiously calling their sons every day.

The organiser allegedly abandoned all 192 children from 32 countries participating in the Olympiad.

The six boys — two each from Sulochanadevi Singhania International School (SSIS) and Chatrabhuj Narsee Memorial School (CNMS), and one each from Cathedral and John Connon School and Gokuldham High School — flew to Sao Paulo on November 30, along with three teachers.

The team, who had paid $1,000 to participate in the event, were told that the organisers would take care of the lodging and boarding.

But problems started the moment they landed in Sao Paulo. “Nobody showed up at the airport to pick them up,” complained Sunil Warrier, whose son Mrigank from CNMS was one of the participants.

The team had to find their own way to the venue and, on reaching there, discovered that they did not have hotel bookings either.
They were even denied food and drinking water.

While the Olympiad progressed smoothly, the closing ceremony was called off after chief organiser Ozimar da Silva Perreira, a Brazilian professor, did not turn up on December 9.

In fact, the boys even had later to collect their medals from the hotel lobby.
But their troubles didn't end there.

The students were barred from leaving the hotel, as the organisers had not cleared their bills. It was only after the police intervened that they were
allowed to leave.

However, SSIS school principal was clueless about the problems. “I was told they were enjoying themselves and did really well,” said Vijayam Ravi.
And the parents see this as a learning experience.

“We pamper them at home, but they need to experience the real world. The fact that my son did so well despite the odds, makes me even more proud,” said Bahula Parikh, mother of Priyank, a CNMS student.

“This is a very prestigious award and a stepping stone to senior Olympiads. I am glad I sent my son,” said D.D. Shetty, whose son Namit from SSIS won a silver medal at the Olympiad.

HT was unable to contact the IJSO office in Indonesia or the Homi Bhaba Centre for Science Education, a national nodal centre that sends children for science Olympiads.

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First Published: Dec 14, 2006 02:37 IST