Like many other kids of his age, 10 years old Jayadithya Avinash Shetty – a 5th standard student of Pawar Public School in Mumbai’s Chandivali, likes playing cricket, is a fan of Marvel superhero movie franchise, and relishes Dosas, Idlies and Kori Roti. However, what makes him special and different from everyone else, is his mind-boggling ability to juggle with numbers and do complicated calculations at breakneck speed. Due to his extraordinary talent, Jayadithya has achieved unthinkable feats. He has brought laurels to the country, by participating and winning a host of trophies and medals at the 2019 Memoriad Turkey Open Championship.
Where most kids fear maths as a subject, Jayadithya is one of the few who play around with it and hence is aptly known as a ‘Mathlete’. He has showcased his prowess in the international arena and against 168 competitors from 13 countries, with a podium finish in both kids as well as open categories at the championship, which was held at the prestigious Ataturk Kultur Merkezi in Turkey’s Istanbul, from 14th to the 16th of December 2019. Winning 6 trophies and 9 medals – including 6 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze medals, and establishing ‘new world records’, Jayadithya overshadowed most other ‘Mathletes’ at the competition.
It’s an incredible achievement when one considers the fact that he competed alongside the best in the world and came on top in categories like Mental Calendar Dates, Mental Square Roots(6 Digits), Mental Division (10 Digits by 5 Digits), Binary Digits(15 Minutes), Mental Multiplications (8 Digits by 8 Digits). Not just this, he now holds the world records in Kids category in Mental Division (10 Digits by 5 Digits) and Binary Digits (5 Minutes). No wonder, Jayadithya’s father Mr. Aavinaash Shetty: a restaurateur, and mother Mrs. Navaazessh Shetty: a homemaker, are proud of their son.
Jayadithya’s mother Mrs. Navaazessh used to work in ITeS and Banking sectors for 15 years, before deciding to completely focus on her son’s abilities, and nurture his talent with assistance from her husband. It’s imperative to mention Jayadithya’s coach Mr Eusibius Noronha – The Modern Day ‘Dronacharya’, who is a ‘Pioneer of Mental Sports in India’ based in Gujarat’s Vapi and has worked with his ward, to make him the phenomenal Mathlete that he is. Jayadithya travels to Vapi during weekends before tournaments, to manage his school simultaneously. The Andheri Powai Bandra Bunts community have also fully supported Jayadithya.
However, his parents rue the fact that though their child brings honour for the country, he doesn’t get any support from the government, corporate sponsorship or any other source. In fact, even though they are as fascinating as any other sport, mental sports are not recognised as much in India, as they are in other parts of the world. Thus, the parents and children who take up such sports, are left to fend for themselves. This results in them facing certain constraints when it comes to participating in international tournaments. In this context, Jayadithya’s success becomes even more remarkable.
While Jayadithya’s contemporaries and renowned International Mathletes like Yusnier Viera, Jeonghee Lee, Lahcen Oulhadj, and Hakim Belouad etc. get lots of support for the sport and participation in international events, it’s not pleasant to know that the Indian child prodigy has only his parents to back him. The government must consider that, if the likes of Jayadithya are making the country proud, they must be aptly supported. This will only further motivate them to win and excel, thus bringing more honour to their nation. Besides, other kids with similar talent would be inspired to play mental sports.
Though Jayadithya doesn’t let these things affect him and his performance. Fondly called ‘Jay’, he makes it a point not to miss playing with his friends during evenings, or watching his favourite movies and TV shows, without compromising on his studies and practising Mathematics. We at The Youth, wish Jayadithya lots of success and hope that he will bring many more medals and trophies home while representing India in future international events. Kids like him must be encouraged to play mental sports and enhance their mathematical skills, as they will grow up to be our country’s future.