Linguist wins gold in Beijing

The International Linguistics Olympiad sees Burgess Hill School for Girls’ Ellie Warner bag Britain’s first ever gold medal

On Friday 25th July, Ellie Warner, Upper Sixth student at Burgess Hill School for Girls, was awarded a gold medal at the International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) in Beijing. Ellie was both the highest placed female in the competition and winner of the first ever gold medal for the UK. 

Selected from over 3,000 applicants contesting a place in Team UK, Ellie represented the UK for the second year running. 

Ellie said: “I would above all like to thank my family, and everyone at Burgess Hill School for Girls and in the local community who have supported me. The encouragement has been invaluable! I came back from the Olympiad last year with an Honourable Mention which made me more determined to requalify and try to win a medal this year. I never imagined it would be gold.” 

Competitors from 28 nations sat a six-hour exam on diverse languages including Benabena, Kiowa, Tangut, Engenni and Gbaya. They also participated in a four-hour team challenge translating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from Armenian into English. 

Full of praise for her fellow team members and the UK Linguistics Olympiad, Ellie gave special mentions to their team leader, Neil Sheldon and also to Dick Hudson. 

Headmistress, Mrs Ann Aughwane, said: “We are thrilled for Ellie! Her achievements representing her country in an international competition are simply awe-inspiring. Ellie is a great role model who has proved what can be accomplished with hard work and determination.” 

Team UK made the most of their time in Beijing with visits to The Great Wall, Peking Opera, the Summer Palace and Tiananmen Square. In the evenings they attended cultural presentations from different countries and a popular ‘Jeopardy’ quiz night which Ellie also won. 

Clare College, Cambridge, has offered Ellie a place in Chinese Studies. In the future she would like to work in international relations, ideally the Foreign Service.



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