Team Sri Lanka is returning home from Geneva with a Gold medal after winning the Zhang Heng Award for Engineering Design, the most prestigious prize for technical achievement at the FIRST Global Challenge.
Over 160 countries took part in the Olympiad in Geneva, Switzerland from 13-16 October. It is the largest Robotics competition in the world for school students and a huge international event. Previous Olympiads were visited by leaders including Ivanka Trump, Mexican President Manuel López Obrador and World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, while well-known tech enthusiast will.i.am played twice at the closing ceremony with his band The Black Eyed Peas.
Elizabeth Moir School was invited by FIRST Global to assemble the team to represent Sri Lanka for the sixth consecutive year. The school had previously organised the teams that took part in the Olympiads in Washington, D.C., Mexico City and Dubai, as well as online competitions for the past two years, winning Judges’ Awards for Technical Excellence in Mexico and Dubai.
Each year, the school has extended opportunities to students from other schools as well as its own students. Previous teams have included pupils of St. John’s College, Jaffna and Richmond College, Galle.
This year’s team consisted of four Elizabeth Moir School students – Omaya De Alwis, Navendra Marcelline, Ricardo Seneviratne and Sadhri Wanigasinghe – and Imadh Mashoor, from the British School in Colombo. The team spent four months designing, building, programming and testing the robot.
The focus of the 2022 FIRST Global Challenge was ‘Carbon Capture’.
Alliances of nations competed to capture and store carbon “demonstrating the collective effort required to protect our shared atmosphere and slow the effects of climate change”. The organisers said: “The event highlighted the importance of addressing global climate change and inspired students and adults alike on the importance of collaborating across places of origin, creeds, religions and cultures to build a better tomorrow.”
Team Mentor Shivashankaran Satchithananthan said: “The team had to play back-to-back games in quick succession and performed extremely well under pressure to qualify for the play-offs. They showed grit and courage throughout and I’m really proud of their teamwork and commitment.”