Last year, 11-year-old Johorean Isabel Lim Yu Tong made headlines as one of nine Malaysian finalists to compete against students from all over the world at the HIPPO English Olympiad. The Raja Permaisuri of Johor even generously gifted RM10,000 to Isabel through the Raja Zarith Sofiah of Johor Foundation.

According to their website, The Hippo Olympiad was first held back in 2013 and is an international event that ‘encourages a spirit of sporting competitiveness between young people interested in the English language from all around the world.’ It is a joint initiative by the Global Hippo Association Italy, a non-profit organization founded in 2012, and Gatehouse Awards United Kingdom. The competition is open to students aged 6 to 19 years old worldwide.

Come 27 to 30 September, 22 participants from Malaysia will head to Rome, Italy to compete against 213 participants from 63 countries. In Malaysia alone, the Hippo Olympiad has attracted over 11,800 participants, nearly double the number from the previous year. This increase in participation showcases the growing popularity and importance of English language knowledge among students in our country.

15-year-old Chloe Yap told Rojak Daily, “This isn’t my first time participating in this competition, I’ve competed once in 2020 but I didn’t get into the semifinals. This year, I’m honoured to be chosen as the only Malaysian in my category to go to the World Finals.

She added, “Being in a multiracial country, English has always been the language of choice when communicating. People of different races and cultures come together with the English language, and I believe it is very important that we learn to communicate in English. Participating in this competition has expanded my vocabulary and elevated my English skills in many ways, and I want to make Malaysia proud by going further in this competition."

Rheeya Eesha Kaur who studies at SK Bukit Damansara said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to represent our beautiful country Malaysia on an international stage. I know that I have a lot to learn, but I am confident that I will do my best to represent our country with pride. I am also excited to meet and learn from other students from all over the world.”

While the number of qualifying participants has incredibly almost doubled from the previous year, more Malaysians may have the chance to join them in Rome. Prior to the World Final, the qualifier round will be held in Port Dickson, Malaysia, on July 7th, 2023, to determine the remaining world finalist spots. Here, the students will compete against students from India, Southeast Asia, China, and the Far East for the final spots.

This year's competition witnessed the participation of 83,120 students from 63 countries in the preliminary round, out of which only 215 qualified for the final round. Caya Academy serves as the coordinator for Malaysia and Singapore territories.

Participants will be tested on a number of aspects of the English language, such as reading, listening, writing, speaking, and the use of English.

All the best, guys!

Visit their official website or check out Caya Academy on Instagram and Facebook. Hippo Olympiad’s official website can be found here.

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