Robotics team awarded silver medal for excellence at international event

Mexico’s robotics team placed 12th overall at the second edition of the FIRST Global Challenge international competition but didn’t go home empty-handed, claiming the silver medal in one of the event’s most prestigious categories.

In recognition of its performance throughout the three-day event held in Mexico City from August 16 to 18, the Mexican team made up of five teenagers and their robot Mu’k’a’an — which means “strong” in the Maya language — placed second in the Albert Einstein Award for Excellence.

The prize is awarded to the teams whose robots performed the best during the competition and exemplified all the tenets of the FIRST Global community, according to the competition website.

The recognition was a source of pride for Ángel Berdeja, Frida Sosa, Herman Sánchez, Jorge García and Santiago García, who thanked the large contingent of enthusiastic supporters who attended the event at the capital’s Arena Ciudad de México.

The theme for this year’s competition was “energy impact,” with each team competing to solve energy efficiency problems using robots that they created.

Over 1,000 students aged between 14 and 18 and representing teams from 175 nations took part in the event.

An alliance consisting of the teams from Germany, Romania and Singapore was the overall winner while a partnership between Colombia, Iceland and the Maldives placed second.

President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador presented the medals to the winning teams before the American band the Black Eyed Peas closed the event with a rousing performance.

The members of the Mexican team told the newspaper El Universal that the competition had taught them that a range of problems that arise in daily life can be solved by working collaboratively in a team.

Sosa, an engineering student at the Tec. de Monterrey university in Mexico City, added that she hoped her team’s strong performance would encourage other young people to try their hand at robotics.

“I hope that our participation in the worldwide robotics competition can inspire many people . . . because apart from being fun and interesting, with robotics you can create new devices that can help the population of the world,” she said.

The inaugural FIRST Global Challenge was held in Washington D.C. in July last year, where the Mexican team won a bronze medal for best engineering design.

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