A group of young inventors from Johor have won the gold medal in an international science competition, with their creation of gloves made out of banana leaves.

The team of 14-year-olds, from the Sinaran Intensif private tuition centre in Johor Bahru, defeated 180 other participants from 21 countries, to emerge champions at the International Science Project Competition 2021, which was held online from May 29 to June 5 in Turkey, due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

According to science teacher K Thipanraj, the participants representing Malaysia were Kirshavina Kumar, Shabariraj Rajendran, Rubinya Nair Suresh, Yuvan Thinagaran, and Yuvhasinee Thinagaran. Thipanraj coached the team to victory, as he teaches the students Science at the tuition centre.

"When my told my students about this competition earlier this year, a lot of them wanted to join but these five were especially keen to join. They were full of ideas and conducted a lot of research into possible projects that they could work on.

"The preparations for the project started around February and coaching was done mainly online, due to the lockdown restrictions. It took us about a month of trial and errors before the final product was conceived," Thipanraj said.

The award-winning gloves are made of banana leaves, with the seeds of other plants such as chilli, sewn into them using banana fibers.

When in use, they pose no risk of skin irritation or allergy to the user, and when thrown, the gloves grow into other plants - posing no harm to the environment.

The gold medal win came as a shock to his students as this is the first time they have participated in an international-level competition, admitted Thipanraj.

"During the preparations, I know some of the students were upset after being 'pushed' too hard to get the project right, but when they won, the students thanked me for pressuring them into victory," Thipanraj quipped.

He further thanked the Malaysian Innovation, Invention and Creativity Association (MIICA) which assisted the team's participation in the competition, and the principal of Sinaran Insentif tuition centre - Mr Kumaran, for footing the participating fees for the tournament.

INTOC Global, which organised the competition, will soon work on patenting the project, once further improvements are made.

The team's victory has got more of his students fired up on winning, said Thipanraj, adding that he keeps receiving many private messages from students volunteering their participation in future competitions.

For now, Thipanraj and his gold medal-winning team are set on presenting their glove project at the World Science, Environment and Engineering Competition (WSEEC), to be held online from Indonesia, from June 17 to 23.

Congratulations on your win young scientists, and wishing you all the very best in acing your next competition as well!

Photos source: K Thipanraj