Taipei, July 30 (CNA) Taiwan earned three gold medals and one silver to finish second in the medals table after South Korea at the recently concluded 44th International Chemistry Olympiad in Washington D.C., officials said Monday.
Over 200 participants from 72 countries entered the prestigious chemistry competition for secondary students, said Taiwan's representative office in the U.S., where this year's contest was held July 21-30.
Taiwan's delegation of four students -- chosen from a pool of 971 students nationwide -- and 10 professors was led by Yao Ching-fa, a chemistry professor at National Taiwan Normal University.
The three gold medals were awarded to Chang Chih-chin of National I-Lan Senior High School, and Hsieh Tsung-hua and Hsieh Hao-hsuan of Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School. The silver medal went to Tung Yu-hung, also a student at the Taipei school.
Gold medals were awarded to approximately the top 10 percent of finishers.
Participants can earn a maximum of 60 points from a five-hour written theoretical examination and a maximum of 40 points from a five-hour practical exam in a laboratory, marking a total of 100 points, of which Chang gained 96.19, ranking him third individually, according to organizers.
Chang's teacher Lai Ming-liang lauded Chang for being an all-round good student, who also won gold at the International Earth Science Olympiad in 2010.
Speaking for himself, Chang said he describes himself as a homebody who prefers anime, manga, and novels over textbooks, and said his biggest dream is to get a girlfriend before turning 18.
"However, it's almost too late for that," added Chang, who is already a senior student.
The chemistry competition, which was held in Taipei in 2005, will be hosted by Russia in the city of Moscow next year.
(By Chen Chih-chung, Lin Shu-yuan and Liu Shih-chun)