Way…Way Above Standard: Arun Rajaratnam

Aug - 9 - 2011
D. Madasekera

The Month of July marked the end of the 22nd International Biology Olympiad 2011. Walking off the awards ceremony with an overjoyed yet calm expression was none other than our very own Arun Rajaratnam: Winner of the Silver Medal for an outstanding performance in handling what the experts called: “5 hour-long problems which demanded persistence, determination and discipline”. Of course, calling  the questions  “5 hour-long” alone would not be adequate to describe their complexity. The Biology Olympiad tests the student’s ability to solve practical/theoretical problems which are way above secondary educational standards. Having just the knowledge of genetics and histology and all the other wide range of subjects which form the field of biology alone does not suffice to make it alive through  this intellectually violent competition. It takes all the quick thinking, discipline and lightning-fast judgment you can muster up in you cranium. And we know of one person who was able to beat all the other contestants who were already selected to be the best in their own homelands respectively.  Arun Rajaratnam came in Silver out of 227 competitors out of 61 countries in the International Biology Olympiad 2011 held in Taipei, Taiwan.


Hiruni Gajanayake (Musaus College, Colombo), Nimeshika Mahaarachchi (Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo) and Shehan Ratnayake (D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo) from Sri Lanka also participated in this completion. These students were selected out of 2500 students who participated in the Sri Lankan Biology Olympiad competition, conducted by the Institute of Biology, in Collaboration with Sri Lankan Universities and Ministry of Education in June last year. Prof Hiran Amarasekera and Prof H G Nandadasa from University of Sri Jayewardenepura and Prof M J S Wijeyaratne from University of Kelaniya also participated for the event as Jury members.

Of course, after knowing Arun for many years, this piece of news did not cause much of a surprise to any of us. We always thought of him as an absolute, ideal condition which did not exist in the natural. Much like the ideal condition of absolute zero Kelvin in temperature. It was fascinating, but we could not think of any way of how it could exist. Therefore similarly, our years at school were spent on marveling whether or not a situation could actually take place where all the test answers of a person’s biology paper exactly matched the Advanced Level Marking scheme developed by a pool of experts from all parts of the island.

He was, as we knew it, a person who enjoyed studying, unlike many of us. It was obviously his passion, a hobby where  all the creative energy starts flowing at its maximum. He was obsessed by it. And undoubtedly, such devotion to an assignment will make it a successful one. We congratulate him on this remarkable achievement that brought and continues to bring glory to our nation and most importantly, our school. We wish him good luck as he continues in his higher studies in the Medical Faculty of University of Peradeniya.


Article Written By : Darren Madasekera

Article Sources : ibo2011.org and studentlanka.com

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