A student from Karachi has bagged a bronze medal in an international chemistry competition held in Thailand, among participants from over 75 countries, including the United States, China and Russia.
Maaha Ayub, an A-Levels student, won the competition and bagged the medal for Pakistan in the 49th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
The competition was held on July 6-15, after which the results were announced.
Talking to Dawn, 19-year-old Ayub, who was among the very few girls participating in the contest, said: “It was no less an honour to represent Pakistan on an international level. The feeling of holding the country [Pakistan] flag in front of some of the biggest nations of the world was indescribable.”
Two teams from Pakistan, comprising four Chemistry students and five Physics students, were sent to compete against 297 students of respective subjects from around the world. The Physics Olympiad was held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
The 10-hour-long contest was very strenuous, said Ayub. It was divided into practical and theoretical exams of five hours each, she explained.
Students were selected under the STEM careers programme after nationwide screening tests were held in all major cities of the country.
Top 50 students for each competition were selected for training in the subjects, who were further shortlisted after attending three-week long training camps. Finally, two teams were selected to represent Pakistan in the international contests.
“We got the opportunity to interact with many students from around the world. This [exposure] helped to present a positive image of Pakistan in front of a global audience,” said Ayub, adding that it was a great opportunity to show the world that when given a chance, “the youth of Pakistan was no less in potential than the rest”.