JOHOR BARU: A group of students from SMK Taman Mutiara Rini 2 clinched the bronze medal for their creative take on an umbrella holder during the 12th International Standards Olympiad in South Korea.
The trio of 14-year-old boys came up with a compact and multi-functional model of the holder which comes in handy for small, medium or large size umbrellas.
Team leader Sheldon Lim Wei Shen said the competition saw the participation of 18 South Korean teams and two foreign teams; a team from Peru under the middle school category and them.
“We were very nervous yet excited as we were up against foreign teams but our teacher reminded us that we had proven ourselves at the national level and encouraged us to put forth our best at the International level.
“It took us about an hour to sketch out the idea for a standardised umbrella holder, a topic that was given to all teams under the category,” he told The Star when met here at their school.
His teammate Soong Chee Wei, who was responsible for designing the model said putting together the materials to build the holder was the toughest part of the challenge.
“We used materials that were provided to us including plywood, polystyrene, electrical tape, hot glue, paper cups and rubber bands to build a prototype of our idea.
“It took us a total of three hours to complete the task, including two hours of building the holder with additional tissue dispenser on the top part of the structure,” he said.
Another teammate, Daniel Low Yiek Chong, who was the main presenter for the team, said he had struggled with stage-fright in the beginning but after almost two months of training, he managed to overcome the fear.
“When it was our turn to present, I was able to let my fears go and deliver with confidence to bring back a win,” he said, adding that although they did not win gold, they were glad to have been able to bring home a medal for Malaysia.
Their teacher N. Dubashini said the boys had worked hard for at least six weeks to prepare for the competition in South Korea, including two sessions with officers from the Department of Standards under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
“They were given guidance and underwent exercises to design and build a modular bridge and a pneumatic piston, which gave them good exposure on what to expect at the competition,” she said.
SMK Taman Mutiara Rini 2 was one of two Malaysian schools that represented the country for the olympiad which was organised by the South Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, with the aim to educate the younger generation on standards and its application in daily lives.
The other school, SMK Rantau Petronas in Terengganu, represented the country and won silver in the high school category at the competition, which was on Aug 10 and 11 in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.
Meanwhile, Standards Malaysia director-general Datuk Fadilah Baharin congratulated the winners, adding that the victory proved the department had successfully created a quality culture and instilled understanding on the benefits of using standards among the younger generation.
“This is also part of our efforts to support the national STEM agenda to equip the students with appropriate knowledge and skills and we are delighted that they won medals for Malaysia,” she said in a statement.