Boy from Pune strikes gold in International Olympiad

Manasi Saraf Joshi
Wednesday, 14 August 2019

“Actually, my interest in astronomy started when I was in Standard V. Considering my inclination towards it, my parents bought me a telescope and I started watching the night sky,” he said. “I used to watch lunar eclipses and go to places to observe the sky,” he added. 

Pune: Chirag Falor, a city boy won the gold medal at the 13th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysicsin Hungary recently. 

Chirag broke the news of his winning the medal to his mother Poojadevi at 2.30 am on August 10.

Chirag, who completed his schooling from St Arnold’s Central School, always had interest in celestial bodies since childhood, but never thought one day he would bring laurels to the country in this area. 

Chirag spoke to Sakal Times recently. 

While speaking with Sakal Times, Chirag said, “I am very happy and feel proud as I could bring laurels for my country. It was after a gap of two years that India could win the gold medal at the competition.” 

“We had three rounds comprising data analysis, theoretical, sky observation and planetarium. Data analysis was a tough round while theory was relatively easy. I was the absolute winner in the sky observation round,” he said, adding, “I shared this prize with two other participants. The weeklong training given by HBCSE-TIFR helped us crack it.”

“I was confident I would bring a medal,” he said, adding that now he wants to pursue a career in astrophysics. 

“Actually, my interest in astronomy started when I was in Standard V. Considering my inclination towards it, my parents bought me a telescope and I started watching the night sky,” he said. “I used to watch lunar eclipses and go to places to observe the sky,” he added. 

His mother said, “His nature is very shy and he talks less. We are proud that our son has brought laurels to the country.    About the competition, he said, “It went on from August 2 to 10. The theory round went on for five hours. I think I performed the worst in the planetarium round, but I also won the team competition and won gold in it too. It had six participants from different countries and we were given tasks,” he said. A five-member team from India went for the competition with two from Mumbai and Hyderabad each and one from Pune. As many as 260 participants were there from 47 countries across the world in this edition of IOAA. Only 17 gold medals were given out. According to the medals tally, India shared the sixth position with Great Britain and Bulgaria, behind Russia (4 golds, 1 silver), China and Romania (2 golds, 2 silvers and 1 bronze each), USA (2 golds and 3 bronzes) and Russia (guest team; 1 gold, 4 silvers).   Along with Chirag (Gold), Prashant Gokhale (Silver), M. Adarsh Reddy (Silver), Hemansh Shah (Silver) and Sai Teja Varanasi (Bronze) from India won the medals at the competition. 

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