A 12-year-old Indian-origin student from Singapore has bagged two gold medals at the World Memory Championships held in Hong Kong. Dhruv Manoj won in the "names and faces" and "random words" disciplines, beating 56 other contestants in the "kids category" in the competition held from December 20-22. Dhruv, who just finished primary school, memorised more than seven decks of shuffled cards in an hour; 1,155 binary numbers in half that time; and 87 names and faces in 15 minutes.
The only Singaporean in the competition of over 260 contestants from China, Russia, India, Taiwan and Malaysia, Dhruv stood out with his stupendous memory. Dhruv has mastered the Roman memory technique of creating "memory palaces", which works by associating the ideas or objects to be memorised with scenes imagined at familiar locations, such as one's house.
Training for Hong Kong competition was tougher for Dhruv, who was also a head prefect, a sprinter in the track and field team and a member of the computer club. Dhruv said he would squeeze in two to three hours of practice a week before the vital Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) after six years of first level of schooling.
He only began intensive training in October, memorising binary numbers and cards for about four to six hours a day. "The toughest part was concentrating on what I have to do, because for most of my friends, PSLE just ended... For me, sitting down there and practising... it was hard, but I managed to pull through," Singapore tabloid 'Today' quoted Dhruv as saying on Sunday.
Dhruv's father Manoj Prabhakar, who is a management consultant in the oil and gas industry, said: "I found that Dhruv enjoyed doing it and he's doing pretty well, so I thought I should support him."