ULAN BATOR, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia's memory athletes have been very successful in international competitions in recent years, earning them the admiration of their fellow countrymen as well as international acclaim.
Xinhua has recently interviewed director of the Mongolian Intellectual Academy (MIA) Khandsuren Khatanbaatar and his student Enkhtuya Lkhagvadulam on secrets behind the success of Mongolia's national memory sports team.
The Mongolian team has won a total of 861 medals at 80 international competitions over the past eight years, according to the MIA.
And athlete Narmandakh Munkhshur was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the most playing cards memorized in an hour. She memorized 1,924 cards in an hour at the 2017 World Memory Championships held in Shenzhen, China, on Dec. 6-8.
The success of Mongolian memory athletes is related to many factors, said Khatanbaatar, who is known as the godfather of memory sports in Mongolia.
Observers say it can be attributed to the combination of talent and hard work.
"I have no doubt that success of our athletes is related to their IQ. Several IQ rankings have placed Mongolians in the top 10 nations," Khatanbaatar said.
He also mentioned approaches the athletes used to strengthen their concentration -- picturing themselves as world champions before every training and competition and using music alpha waves.
The MIA also contributes its due share to the success of the athletes.
"Success of our athletes is a result of good curriculum of the MIA that is suitable for characteristics of them," Khatanbaatar noted.
Established in 2010, the MIA has trained over 10,200 people in different mental sports.
Currently, the academy has five branches in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator and each one branch in five provinces, namely Selenge, Darkhan-Uul, Orkhon, Khuvsgul and Umnugovi.
The academy aims to open its branches in remaining 16 provinces of the country to further develop mind sports and increase access to its training program within 2019.
"I am confident that there are many children in the countryside who have hidden talents. So, we aim to open our academy's branches in all provinces of the country within next year," director of the MIA said.
"Memory sports are open to everybody. It is just a method and techniques that need to be learned," he said.
Lkhagvadulam, a 16-year-old girl, is one of the best memory athletes in Mongolia. She became the world memory champion in the junior category last year.
The teenager started as a memory athlete only about three years ago.
"Now, I am preparing to participate in the 27th World Memory Championship 2018 in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in December. I aim to defend my championship title and break my own world records," she said.
Currently, Mongolian athletes hold 14 out of 18 junior memory sports world records. 10 of them belong to Lkhagvadulam.
She set world records in 5 minutes binary and 10 minutes cards last year.