Khamis Al Jneibi who won a maths competition and recognised by the President showing his trophy and certificate in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National

Khamis Al Jneibi wins first place at International Mathematical Olympiad
An Emirati teenager who was greeted personally by President Sheikh Mohammed after winning a prestigious math competition said he wanted to grow up to be a pilot.

Khamis Al Jneibi won first place at the International Mathematical Olympiad, competing with hundreds of students from 19 countries in Sharm el-Sheikh this month.

A 13-year-old boy from the United Arab Emirates solves 100 complex arithmetic problems in just 10 minutes.

After his win, he received an unexpected phone call that still horrifies him.

“I still can’t believe I met the President,” he told The National Thursday.

“This is the greatest honor I can imagine. My friends keep asking how he is doing and what the President said to me.

Thursday traveled to Egypt with his father last month and returned with the trophy on June 4.

Khamis Al Jneibi who won a maths competition and recognised by the President showing his trophy and certificate with his father Saleh Al Jneibi in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National

“Just two days after our return, we received a call that the President wanted to meet our son,” said his father Saleh, 46, deputy principal at Abu Dhabi public schools.

“No one could have imagined that.

“Our hearts were beating very fast and I was very surprised to see how we managed to speak calmly and confidently with the President of the UAE. He was humble, proud of Thursday’s achievements and asked about our well-being.”

Thursday, a 7th grader at Saad bin Moat School in Abu Dhabi, discovered his natural talent for math from an early age.

“I always knew I loved math and I was better than most. At the age of 7, I realized that I could solve mentally complex equations,” she says.

He then joined the young genius center in Abu Dhabi.

“I still want to be a pilot,” said Khamis with a laugh.

“I would advise parents to keep their kids away from electronics and enroll them in different courses based on their hobbies and talents,” his father said.

“We take Thursday to the center every day after school to practice math. He enjoys swimming and horseback riding and has a blue karate belt.

“We did our best to keep him busy and away from electronics – it seemed to take up all of our youth.

“When Thursday first entered the race, I asked him to remember the UAE and that every achievement should make his country and parents proud – he did it and made us all very proud.”

The International Mathematical Olympiad is aimed at pre-university athletes and is the oldest of the International Mathematical Olympiads.

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