Pinelands robotics team triumphs at world champs beating more than 220 teams from across the world

Texpand,left, in action during the semi-finals. Supplied

Texpand,left, in action during the semi-finals. Supplied

Published Apr 25, 2024


Cape Town - A local robotics team has beaten the world’s best after they won the For Inspirational and Recognition of Science and Technology World Championship in Houston in the US.

The four-day competition, which saw more than 220 teams from across the world compete, was about teaching the youth to learn and apply science, technology, engineering and maths skills.

Team Texpand, based in Pinelands, travelled to the global competition with nine young members and two coaches. They have members from communities across the Western Cape, including Pinelands, Mitchells Plain, Plumstead and Grabouw.

The competition took place last week. A member of the team, Isa Adams, 14, from Mitchells Plain, said the event was exciting: “I feel like a winner and more opportunities will open up for the team. I liked the fact that I could meet people from different countries.”

The Grade 9 pupil at Claremont High School added: “Robotics is a difficult sport to get into, but once you understand it, you start enjoying it. It definitely pays off when you get to a world championship and win.”

One of Texpand’s coaches, Michelle Buckle, said it felt surreal and wonderful to be champions.

“We feel we have additional responsibility to carry on and encourage growth in robotics education in South Africa. Winning such a huge tournament is like a gift that gives us opportunities to boost and encourage people in our country to have hope, dream, and work to do well on the world stage.

“Before leaving South Africa, we had a sense that we could do well and make it into the elimination rounds, because our game scores were just a fraction below those of the best performers globally.

“We felt that if we were drawn with good alliance partners in the qualifying rounds, and everything with our team went like clockwork, then we could end up in an alliance for elimination matches,” she said.

The team, who arrived back in Cape Town on Tuesday night, qualified for the international event after winning the national championships in February.

Buckle said they were already in the process of working on their goals for the new season.

“We hope to get more funding now, at the beginning of the next season, so the team can develop an even more advanced and faster robot,” said the coach.

[email protected]

Cape Argus