The Goa team won second place in the International Robotics Competition in Thailand. Making India proud: Goan children play robots on international stage. It competes with 76 teams from 8 countries
Eager to enter this new treasure trove of knowledge, and make India proud, two Goan 7th grade kids displayed extraordinary talent in robotics to win second place in an international level competition recently held in Bangkok, Thailand.
Sai Pranav Gandhi and Viraj Vishwanath Marathe team members represented India at the international level at Makex Robotics International held in Bangkok, Thailand from 25th to 27th November, and their team Legogoa Axiom competed with 72 teams from 8 countries to claim the 2nd place. The tournament spanned over 3 days with 4 qualifying rounds and 2 championship division rounds.
The qualification rounds required consistent performance because scores from the four rounds were considered to finish a team qualified to the championship round. On the final day of the competition, ‘Legogoa Axiom’ allied with ‘TPK Robot 3’ from Thailand who had Mint and Pomphun, to compete with 34 other teams. The day saw close matches and Axiom Leggoua saw its nerve to score 1460 points (only 20 points behind the winning team) to finish second in the tally. The team won a cash prize of 30,000 baht (about 70,000 rupees) along with a trophy and medals during a glittering closing ceremony.
The ‘Legogoa Axiom’ journey pioneered as it headlined India’s national level competition, the Smart India Hackathon (junior category) held in Coimbatore on 16th October. ISRO. Prime Minister Pramod Sawant wished both boys during victories, in India and Thailand. Viraj, after winning the Smart India Hackathon 2022 in the junior category, developed an app for dementia patients and got a chance to interact with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 25 in Ahmedabad. “It was a golden moment for us,” says Dr. Rajashree Marathi, Viraj’s mother, and Sai Pranav’s father thanks Saiesh Gandhi for mentoring the magical children.
Sai, who is a student of Sharada Mandir, has conducted multiple workshops on LEGO robotics and has given presentations to children on the theme of ‘Learning from Playing’, the first being at the age of six. “I’ve been participating in Lego robotics competitions since 2018,” says Sy who won the First Lego League’s “Most Inspirational Team” award in 2019 and qualified for the World Robot Olympiad Nationals in 2019.
He has many awards in chess at the school level and also in academic Olympiads.
With these skills, in India, the boys spent a lot of time together, to improve their robotics skills, and put a lot of effort to give perfect results and get error-free results. The Thai language was a barrier which they tried to overcome with Google translator, gestures and sign language. “We reviewed the recordings, found out the errors, and prepared ourselves to enter a competition where we had to team up with a Thai team of two, get ahead of the game, and help each other earn points, as our victory depended on the combined performance of both teams, Indian and Thai,” he says. Sai, and recalls, “The referees were very generous and friendly and played interpreters for us. The Thai people are very kind and hospitable and helped us communicate.”
Viraj shares his experience, and agrees it was a tough win, “Everything we had to do was in a split second of time. And we had to make really quick decisions, as other teams were already perfect. Unlike us in India, kids in Thailand learn to code.” And the robots are from Class 1, and they have dedicated mentors on their side. All teams traveled with their own teachers. We fell behind mainly in communication. Phones are not allowed. Thais know written English, but not spoken, so we had to rely on signs and gestures to convey our thoughts Fortunately, the organizers knew a little English.
Viraj has also got many awards and rewards to his credit – he won first prize of Rs 1 lakh in the Rookie category of NCRC-2022 by SP Robotics. It was a finalist in the top five nationally in Google Code for Learning in 2021, and its app appeared in the top eight internationally.
Both boys are best friends now and have common interests in coding, robotics, dicing, swimming or chatting, they spend time together. Speaking of the future, Viraj would like to work in the field of programming, website development, application development, and research. Sai loves coding, engineering, math, science, and the arts, and would like to bring together the best of all of these things to reflect in his work.
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