Once again Zamani College supplied all the IYPT team Nigeria members for the 2014 IYPT. The team consisted of Jim Omoigberale, Habeeb Sanusi, Ibrahim Kabir, Chinenye Akaluka, Zainab Rabiu, Mustapha Tukur and our team leader, Mr Ekwenta. After months of preparation, we left for Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport Abuja on 2nd July, 2014. Unfortunately, we were told on arrival that our tickets had not been booked by the local IYPT organiser, Still Learning. We were also told there was no money to buy tickets for us, and because it was late we had to spend the night in Abuja. The following day, the PTA, to whom we are ever indebted, bought the tickets for us and we left Nigeria by 10:30 pm. We arrived in Frankfurt by 6:00am on 4th then took a connecting flight to Manchester and arrived there by 8:00am.
We were a day late so we were not picked up by our student guides but were welcomed by the very cool weather. After missing our train twice, we finally arrived in Shrewsbury by 1:00pm. Unfortunately, we found out that we had missed the opening ceremony and our first Physics fight was in an hour’s time. We barely had time to think as we rushed to the competition venue. There were 28 countries participating and Nigeria was the only African country. The competition consisted of five rounds of physics fights in which each country’s team in one round will supply a reporter, opponent, reviewer or observer to any of the seventeen problems to be tackled. In our first physics fight with Germany and Slovenia we gave just an average performance.
On the 5th, we had the second round with Australia, Singapore, and Czech Republic and our third round with Romania and Bulgaria. Our performance was still not so good but we took it in good faith and worked harder. The next day, we had the fourth round with Russia, UAE and Macao and our performance improved. After lunch we left for the Cosford Royal Air force Museum, which contained a huge number of aeroplanes, vehicles, missiles and all sorts of aeronautic memorabilia. It also houses the award-winning National Cold War museum. There were also games and fun rides. We not only gained knowledge but also had so much fun.
On 7th we had the fifth round with South Korea and Austria and for the first time in the competition we were able to present one of our best problems. We finished the round happily. After lunch we went for the Shrewsbury town sightseeing tour and bought some souvenirs. The next day, we had a full day excursion to Iron Bridge Gorge and Museums, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986. The gorge is an area of outstanding natural beauty as well as the location of a famous iron bridge, the first to be built entirely with cast iron by Abraham Darby in 1779, and is the site of no less than ten museums each celebrating the birth of industry in Europe and the World.
The finals took place the next morning with four teams competing – Slovakia, Singapore, Poland and China. Singapore won with a small margin of 0.1 points. We had the closing ceremony in the afternoon where we wore our traditional attire to the admiration of all and medals and certificates were presented to all countries. The highlight of the event was the farewell dinner and party which lasted all night. At the event, each country made a presentation. We danced to some Nigerian songs which thrilled the audience and they all joined in the dancing. The saddest part finally came as we had to say goodbye to all the new friends we had made.
After all the snapshots and goodbyes, we left Shrewsbury for Manchester on 10th, where we did some shopping. We also visited Old Trafford cricket ground and the Etihad football stadium. On the morning of the 11th, we took our flight from Manchester to Frankfurt and then connected to Abuja. We arrive in Zamani College by 7:30 in the evening.
It was an amazing experience not only for developing our minds but also for meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. We will always cherish those memories and remember all the friends we made during the trip. We hope that from what we have learnt this year the performance next year, if ZC is lucky enough to provide team members, will be much better.