S’pore pupil, 11, sets new world record

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Dhruv Manoj scores two wins in World Memory Championships

A Singapore primary school pupil broke the children's category world record in one section of the World Memory Championships held in Jakarta, Indonesia, earlier this month.

Dhruv Manoj, 11, a Primary 5 pupil at Sembawang Primary School, outperformed 20 other competitors in his age group of 12 and below to top the "names and faces" discipline.

Memory athletes at the international memory sport competition had 15 minutes to memorise names and faces and 30 minutes to recall and pen their answers.

Of the 240 given, Dhruv was able to match 96 names to faces correctly.

The previous record of 88 names and faces was set by Indonesian Shafa Annisa Rahmadani Arianata when she was 11, at the Hong Kong Open 2015.

The overall new world record set at the championships in Jakarta was 212 names and faces by Mongolia-born Yanjaa Wintersoul, 23.

The 111 competitors in this year's World Memory Championships took part in 10 events each, in which they had to memorise and recall various items such as random words, random digits and the order of a deck of cards.

For each event, they were ranked overall against all other competitors, and also against those in their age group: children (aged 12 and under), junior (13 to 17), adult (18 to 59), and senior (60 and above). There were five competitors representing Singapore.

Dhruv said of the moment he learnt he had not only won his category but also set a new world record for his age group: "I was so excited... It was unexpected and seriously cool."

He also won in the random words category for his age group, where competitors had 15 minutes to memorise a list of words and 30 minutes to recall and pen them down. He remembered 154 words from a list of about 380.

Dhruv's interest was sparked by an article on memory sports his father showed him and he started training two years ago. The permanent resident credited his recent good showing to intensive training over three weeks leading up to the championships.

He trained for at least four hours a day, following a schedule that his father, Dr Manoj K. Prabhakar, 45, a management consultant, drew up.