Friday, September 11, 2015

Team Sri Lanka Caught Short at 17

Team Sri Lanka finished their run in the tournament in 17th place, narrowly missing out on the Octo-Final break.

The team was only only able to add one judge to their tally on the fourth and final day of prelims, facing a split loss to UAE and a unanimous defeat to Team Philippines. This meant they were tied with Canada on 5 wins and 16 judges, but Canada was able to make it through on the strength of their speaker scores.

While the team will be disappointed at not having progressed further, there are a number of victories worth appreciating in their performance this year.

First and foremost - the win over defending champions team England; this has reassured faith in the belief that Sri Lanka is up their with the very best in the world, and that we are capable of winning the tournament with commitment and hard work. Furthermore, the win will improve Sri Lanka's reputation in the tournament, as a team to watch out for in the years to come.

Second, the team's final tally was the tied second best in recent years, with 5 wins having only been secured in South Africa in 2012. Consistent performances in terms of wins will raise Sri Lanka's overall rank in the tournament in the future.

Third, the team's performance in terms of speaker scores. At the break, Team Sri Lanka had higher total speaker points than other nations that had made it into the octo finals - such as India, Pakistan, Philippines and the UAE. This shows that the emphasis on improving style to fit the demands of WSDC has paid off, and further progress can be made.

Furthermore, individually - Amrita Khandpur ranked 5th on the English as a Second Language (ESL) tab and 31st in the top 50, while Eran Fernando ranked 4th on ESL and 28th overall - Sri Lanka's highest ranking speakers to date. All 5 speakers were in the top 25 on the ESL tab.

Our heartiest congratulations to the team, and special thanks to Ms. Tamara Fernando, who played the dual role of Coach and Team Manager. They have done Sri Lanka proud!

Left to right: Amrita, Devin, Tamara, Sidath, Eran, Miriam

Friday, July 31, 2015

Team Sri Lanka Fell England 3-0!

Team Sri Lanka has been making great strides at the World Schools Debating Championship 2015 in Singapore, and have currently completed 3 days of tiring debate.

This morning, Sri Lanka defeated Team England - the defending champions - on a unanimous decision, opposing the motion 'THBT in cities with large immigrant populations, the State should actively break up ethnic enclaves.' This is a massive leap forward in terms of Sri Lanka's performance at the tournament, and will certainly give the country some well deserved credit.

After 6 preliminary rounds, Sri Lanka's tally stands at 5 wins and 15 adjudicators. Sri Lanka lost to Malaysia on a split decision, and defeated China on a split, but has taken the rest of its opponents so far unanimously (Sweden, Taiwan, Macau, England).

The team now heads into a break day, beyond which they will face UAE and Philippines in their last two preliminary rounds of debate. They are in a strong position to make a very high break into the octo-finals, and we wish them all the best for the rest of the tournament.

Our congratulations to coach Tamara and her team for making the country proud thus far.

Monday, July 6, 2015

World Schools Debating Championship 2015

The World Schools Debating Championship is to take place from 27th July to 6th August in Singapore this year. In the build up towards this competition, the Debaters' Council inaugurated the National Training Pool in October 2014. The pool comprised the highest ranking speakers eligible for the competition, as determined by the Speaker Tab of the Sri Lanka Schools Debating Championship 2014.

Following several months of training, selections for the final team were held over several days in March, and the following debaters were selected to represent the national side at the competition this year:

Eran Fernando - Colombo International School
Amrita Khandpur - Colombo International School
Miriam Alphonsus - Methodist College
Devin Hewage - S. Thomas' College
Sidath Samarasinghe - Royal College

Eran Fernando is the team's only returning member from Thailand last year, but the team is full of experienced debaters who have been performing at the highest level in the local circuit.

The team is being coached by Ms. Tamara Fernando, who was a member of the national team in 2011 and made the Top 50 Speakers Tab in 2012.

The team has shown great promise in the past few months, and we wish them all the best as they take on the world at the end of the month.

Further updates on the team's progress will be made available on this blog.

Monday, June 22, 2015

HFC Impromptus 2015

Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya organized the inaugural 'HFC Impromptu Debating Championship' on the 13th and 14th of June, 2015.

The competition saw 21 schools from 12 teams participate, and after 4 rounds of preliminary debates, the following teams broke through to the quarter final round:

1) Methodist College (A)
2) S. Thomas' College (A)
3) Ladies' College (B)
4) Methodist College (B)
5) S. Thomas' College (B)
6) Ananda College (A)
7) Royal College (A)
8) Visakha Vidyalaya (A)

In the quarter final round, S. Thomas' College B was the only team to cause an upset, breaking into the top of the table for the semi-finals by defeating Methodist College B.

The two Thomian teams were able to win their respective semi-final debates, and thus set up an all-Thomian final; the A team defeating Ladies' College B, and the B team upsetting Methodist College A.

In the Grand Final, the B team proposed the motion 'THBT criminals convicted of heinous crimes should be given the choice between death penalty and life imprisonment'.

The B team was represented by

Sebastian Sansoni
Kavindra Senaratne
Sasika Jayasuriya

and the A team comprised

Sharuka Wikramanayake
Chetan Perera
Anarga Peiris

The winning school was already a foregone conclusion, but the top-seeded A team came out on top, and thus became the first winners of the HFC Impromptus.

S. Thomas' College took away all the prizes, as Sharuka Wikramanayake was crowned Best Speaker of the championship.

Our congratulations to the winning team, and to all those who participated in this inaugural competition. Special commendation to the organizing committee, for a smoothly run competition that ran sharp on time. We hope to see this competition becoming a regular feature in the debating calendar, and to see it grow into a much larger tournament in the years to come.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Gateway wins Inter-International School Debating Championship

The 3rd annual Inter-International School Debating Championship, organized by the Debating Society of Stafford International School, was held on the 7th and 8th of March, 2015. This event has become a regular feature on the debating calendar, and has been responsible for drawing new schools into the local debating circuit. This year's competition saw Amal International School make their debut, and Overseas School of Colombo make a return among the 16 teams that participated.

After four preliminary rounds of debate, the following teams broke through to the quarter finals:

1) Colombo International School (A)
2) Lyceum International School Wattala (B)
3) Lyceum International School Wattala (A)
4) Gateway College Colombo
5) British School in Colombo (A)
6) Colombo International School (B)
7) Lyceum International School Nugegoda (A)
8) Daybridge International School (A)

The quarter finals saw one major upset, as both teams of defending champions Colombo International School were knocked out, CIS (A) losing to Daybridge (A). The other seeds did not yield any upsets.

At the semi-finals, the (A) team of Lyceum Wattala beat out their own (B), while Gateway beat Daybridge to book their berth in the Grand Final.

At the Grand Final, Lyceum Wattala proposed the motion, 'In a criminal trial, this house would allow the aggrieved party to choose the sentence.' They were represented by

Danidhu Withanawasam
Sandeepa Fernando
Devin Randika

while Gateway College comprised

Dayan Surendranathan
Pramuk Kodithuwakku
Hasitha Jayatileke

After a closely contested final, the five-member panel of adjudicators was split 3-2, with Gateway College being awarded the win, and their first title.

Eran Fernando of Colombo International School was adjudged Best Speaker of the competition.

Our congratulations to the winners, and to the organizers for a smoothly run tournament. We hope to see this competition grow in its scale in years to come.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Vijitha Weerasinghe Challenge Shield Revived

The Vijitha Weerasinghe Challenge Shield for debating, hosted by Royal College, was recently revived after a lapse of several years. The competition, which used to be in the traditional Oxford format, was brought back in the three-person Parliamentary format, in keeping with the times. The preliminary rounds were worked off on 31st January and 1st February, while the knock-out rounds were held on 7th February.

The tournament saw the participation of 23 teams, and after six preliminary rounds of debate - a first for an inter-school competition hosted by a school in the circuit - the following teams broke through to the quarter-finals.

1) Ladies' College (C)
2) S. Thomas' College (A)
3) Ladies' College (B)
4) Methodist College (A)
5) S. Thomas' College (B)
6) Ladies' College (A)
7) Holy Family Convent (A)
8) Ananda College (A)

Ladies' College (C) was the hot-news at the competition, defeating far more established teams to break first with 5 wins, despite being a new team.

Ananda College (A) was the only team to proceed from the bottom half of the table, defeating Ladies' (C), while the other leaders proceeded to the semi-finals.

In the first semi-final, Ananda College registered a comfortable 7-0 victory over Methodist College, who proposed the motion 'THW ban religious organisations from providing rehabilitation services for drug and alcohol addicts'.

The second semi-final was much more intense and close-fought, as S. Thomas' College proposed the motion 'THW ban religious symbols from schools'. The debate produced a nail-biting 3-2 split which saw S. Thomas' narrowly edge out Ladies' College to proceed to the Grand Final.

At the Grand Final, S. Thomas' College proposed the motion 'THW not prosecute governments for war crimes in combating terrorism in their own territory'. The Thomian team comprised

Anarga Peiris
Sandesh Rajanathan
Sharuka Perera

while Ananda College was represented by

Tharuka Perera
Minul Muhandiramge
Dinusha Pathirana

The panel of judges comprised Rhadeena De Alwis (Chair), Shanil Wijesinghe, Nishadi Wickramasinghe, Michael Mendis and Sajith Bandara. At the end of a heated debate, the panel split 4-1, awarding the shield to Ananda College.

Ananda College has been at the forefront of the debating scene of late, having made it to consecutive finals last year. They will be happy to have finally secured a title for themselves.

Miriam Alphonsus of Methodist College was crowned Best Speaker of the Championship.

Congratulations to all teams to have made it far in the competition, and to the Debaters' Council of Royal College for a well-run tournament.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Debating Calendar 2015

As discussed earlier, the Debaters' Council is trying to create a regular debating calendar, which will feature all the competitions set to take place in each year and (hopefully) will continue on an annual basis. This is in order to make debating in Sri Lanka a more regular and competitive affair, in line with the debating circuits of other countries that perform competitively at international championships.

The tentative calendar for the year ahead is as follows. Other tournaments may also take place, and those listed here are subject to change as well.


Term I

31st Jan – 1st Feb – Vijitha Weerasinghe Memorial Debating Championship
February – Sri Lanka Schools Debating Championship (Law Facs)
March – (1st weekend) – Inter-International School Debating Championship

Term II

April – September – Debaters’ Council Schools League
End July/early August – Musaeus College Impromptu Debating Championship
27th July - 6th August - World Schools Debating Championship (Singapore)

Term III

12th-13th September – Lilian Nixon Debating Championship
25th-26th September – Elizabeth Moir Debating Championship
Mid October – Rev. Fr. Don Stanley Abeysekera Memorial Challenge Shield

We look forward to taking debating to new heights in the year ahead!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Third Title for Royal College

The Lilian Nixon Challenge Shield, organized annually by the Debating Society of Ladies' College, was held on 25th and 26th October 2014. This year's competition saw the participation of 37 teams, among whose number were newer participants Trinity College, Kandy, and St. John's College, Jaffna. After four preliminary rounds of debate, the following teams broke through to the quarter finals:

1) Royal College (A)
2) S. Thomas' College (A)
3) Stafford International School
4) Visakha Vidyalaya
5) Gateway College (B)
6) Royal College (B)
7) Ananda College (A)
8) Ananda College (B)

The two top-seeded teams met in the Grand Final; S. Thomas' College (A) defeating Ananda College (A) in the quarters and Royal College (B) in the semis, and Royal College (A) defeating Ananda College (B) and Visakha Vidyalaya. The members of the two teams were as follows:

S. Thomas' College (A)

Sandesh Rajanathan
Devin Hewage
Sharuka Wikramanayake

Royal College (A)

Shechem Sumanthiran
Senith Abeyanayake
Sidath Samarasinghe

The motion for the Grand Final was 'This house would not convict beat-up wives for any crimes committed against their husbands, including murder', which S. Thomas' College proposed. Although the debate was very close, and of a standard befitting a final, the seven-member panel of adjudicators were unanimous in their conclusion that the motion fell, giving Royal College yet another tournament win, their third this month.

The award for 'Most Outstanding Speaker' went to Minul Muhandiramge of Ananda College (B).

The final of the Novice Category - which was for teams that had never before taken part in this competition - took place between Royal College (C) and Lyceum International School, Wattala, with Royal College emerging victors.

Our congratulations to all the victors, and especially to the members of the Debating Society of Ladies' College, for yet another efficiently-run championship.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Royal College Makes it Two in a Row

The Elizabeth Moir Debating Championship was held on the 10th and 11th of October 2014 at the Elizabeth Moir Senior School. The tournament saw 24 teams participate, with the top four teams after 2 rounds of debate proceeding to the semi-finals.

In the semi-final rounds, Ananda College (B) defeated Ananda College (A) to seal their spot in the final, while Royal College did the same by defeating Gateway College (A).

Ananda College (B) was represented by

Navindu Palliyaguruge
Tharuka Perera
Minul Muhandiramge

while Royal College comprised

Kanchana Ranasinghe
Sidath Samarasinghe
Arjun Ratwatte

In an almost deja-vu Grand Final, Ananda College proposed the motion 'This house believes that nationalism is a virtue', and after a close fought debate, the panel of adjudicators split 2-1 in favour of Royal College, giving them their second title in as many competitions.

Our congratulations to both teams on making it to the Final of successive competitions, to the winners on their success, and to the organizers for bravely taking on the task of hosting such a competition.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Royal College Crowned Undefeated Champions at 9th Sri Lanka Schools Debating Championship

The Grand Final of the 9th Sri Lanka Schools Debating Championship was held on 4th October 2014, between Ananda College (A) and Royal College (A).

Having won all seven preliminary rounds, Royal College (A) made their way to the final by defeating Royal College (B) in the quarters and S. Thomas' College (A) in the semis, while Ananda College (A)'s journey to the final involved defeating Ananda College (B) in the partial octos, Colombo International School (A) in the quarters, and Ladies' College (B) in the semis.

Ananda College (A) was represented by

Gihan Samarawickrama
Oshada Abhayasundara
Dinusha Pathirana
Binura Gunasekara (R)

while Royal College (A) comprised

Shechem Sumanthiran
Senith Abeyanayake
Sidath Samarasinghe

The motion for the Grand Final was - eventually - 'This house believes that it is justifiable to use violence in the protection of the environment', and was proposed by Ananda College. At the end of the heated exchange, the adjudicators' decision went 6-1 in favour of the opposition, making Royal College (A) the undefeated Champions of the competition, with a winning streak of 10 debates.

Charith Gunasekara of S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, and Maya de Silva Wijeyeratne of Ladies' College were joint Best Speakers of the championship.

Our congratulations to the winning team and speakers, and to the organizers for another well run tournament.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sri Lanka Schools Debating Championship 2014

The preliminary rounds of the 9th Sri Lanka Schools Debating Championship, organized by the Moot Court and Debating Society of the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, were completed on the 27th and 28th of September 2014. This year's competition saw the participation of 50 teams, and after 7 tiring rounds of debates, the following teams broke through to the next round:

1) Royal College (A)
2) Colombo International School (A)
3) Ladies' College (A)
4) S. Thomas' College (B)
5) S. Thomas' College (A)
6) Ladies' College (B)
7) Ananda College (A)
8) Royal College (B)
9) Methodist College (A)
10) Ananda College (B)
11) Bishop's College (A)
12) Ladies' College (C)

Royal College (A) emerged the only undefeated team, winning all seven preliminary debates.

The top four teams will go straight through to the quarter finals, while the bottom eight will have to fight for a quarter-final spot in a partial octo-final.

The break rounds and the Grand Final of the championship will be held on Saturday 4th October at the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo. We wish all the teams the best of luck.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Team Sri Lanka at the World Schools Debating Championship 2014 - Bangkok, Thailand

The World Schools Debating Championship 2014 was held in Bangkok, Thailand from 5th to 15th August 2014. The following students represented Sri Lanka at the tournament:

1) Maya De Silva Wijeyeratne - Ladies' College
2) Eran Fernando - Colombo International School
3) Shechem Sumanthiran - Royal College
4) Daniel Ferdinandusz - St. Joseph's College
5) Sharuka Wikramanayake - S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia

The young team did well to win 3 of the 7 preliminary debates they took part in, and missed out on improving that record due to Team Namibia's absence at the tournament.

The team lost unanimously to former champions Singapore and this year's ESL champions Malaysia, and split judges off Argentina and tournament heavy-weights Ireland in very close debates.

The team maintained Sri Lanka's clean streak against Japan, and also reversed the record by defeating USA unanimously, and Israel by a 2-1 margin.

Eran Fernando was ranked 8th on the 'English as a Second Language' speaker tab, and 48th on the overall speaker tab.

Our congratulations to the team on its individual and collective performances at the competition.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Selection Workshops for the World Schools Debating Championship 2014

The World Schools Debating Championship 2014 will be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 5th to 15th August 2014.

Students of secondary schools with significant prior experience at the inter-school level in English medium Parliamentary Debating, who are above the age of 14 and will not have reached the age of 20 by the 15th of August 2014, are eligible to apply for selection.

Interested students may submit a CV outlining their debating achievement along with Date of Birth, School Attended and relevant contact details before the 15th of January 2014 via e-mail to

Successful candidates will be notified by the 22nd of January 2014 of their eligibility to participate in the selections, which will be held on the 25th and 26th of January.

Selections by the panel are subject to approval by the Ministry of Education.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lilian Nixon Debating Championship 2013

The above tournament, organized by the Debating Society of Ladies' College, was held on the 26th and 27th of October 2013 with the participation of 40 teams - the largest tournament hosted by a school so far. The teams included the regulars on the debating circuit, as well as new teams like St. John's College Jaffna, Overseas School of Colombo and British School in Colombo. In order to ensure that the best from among such a large pool of teams would break into the knock-out rounds, the organizers scheduled four preliminary debates as opposed to the usual three.

At the end of the preliminary rounds, the following teams broke into the quarter finals:
(In descending order)

Colombo International School (A)
S. Thomas' College (A)
Royal College (A)
S. Thomas' College (B)
Colombo International School (B)
Ananda College (A)
Holy Family Convent (A)
Lyceum International School Nugegoda (B)

The quarter-finals yielded no upsets, and the top seeded teams won their respective debates to proceed to the semi-finals. In the semi-final round, CIS (A) beat STC (B) opposing the motion "THBT a corrupt democracy is better than a dictatorship", while Royal (A) beat STC (A) proposing the motion "TH supports the censorship of media in times of political crisis"

Thus, the Grand Final was between Colombo International School and Royal College, on the theme of "Law and Order". The debate was adjudicated by a very experienced panel of judges, which comprised Shan Dantanarayana (Chair), Nishantha De Silva, Deshan Pushparajah, Shamalie Jayatunge, Damitha Karunaratne, Rhadeena de Alwis and Michael Mendis.

The team from Royal College comprised

Kanchana Ranasinghe
Senith Abeyanayake (C)
Shechem Sumanthiran

while the team from Colombo International School was represented by

Eran Fernando (C)
Keshya Amarasinghe
Ramathi Bandaranayake

Royal College proposed the motion "THW give the people the power - via referendum - to pardon whistle-blowers". On a 6-1 split, the decision went in favour of the government, and Royal College became the winners of the Lilian Nixon Challenge Shield for the year 2013.

Shechem Sumanthiran of Royal College was adjudged the Most Outstanding Speaker of the competition.

The tournament's novice final was between Stafford International School and S. Thomas' College (C), and the latter emerged victors.

Congratulations to the winning team and to Ladies' College for a well organized and efficiently run tournament.

Monday, October 21, 2013


The Debaters' Council extends its apologies for the dormancy of this blog over the last year. However, we are pleased to announce that the blog will now be updated as frequently as there are developments in the local circuit.

Please follow the blog for news and results of tournaments, and for other important announcements by the Debaters' Council.

Inter-International School Debating Competition

The above competition was organized once again by the Debating Society of Stafford International School, and the preliminary rounds were held on the 19th of October 2013. Six schools participated in the tournament, and faced off against each other in the first round. Lyceum Wattala, Lyceum Nugegoda and Wycherly International School won their respective debates and secured their berths in the semi-final, while Colombo International School took the last slot on account of having the highest speaker score among the losing teams.

The semi-finalist teams debated the motion "This house would force fast-food chains to display the calorie count of each item on their menu". Colombo International School and Lyceum Nugegoda won their debates against Wycherly International School and Lyceum Wattala respectively, and will thus face off in the Final, which is to take place in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Team Sri Lanka at the World Schools Debating Championship 2012

WSDC 2012 was held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 17th to 27th January. Team Sri Lanka performed very well at the championship, winning 5 of the 8 preliminary debates. The team beat Zimbabwe, Mongolia, UAE, Germany and Botswana, while suffering close losses to defending champions Singapore and South Korea, and a split loss to tournament heavy-weights Israel. However, the team fell one judge short of breaking into the octo-finals. The team ranked 19th based on wins and losses, and 15th based on speaker points, out of the 48 teams that participated.

The championship was also a success in terms of individual performances. Meghal Perera, Sanjit Dias and Tamara Fernando were ranked 3rd, 5th and 8th respectively on the "English as a Second Language" speaker tab, and 38th, 41st and 50th respectively on the overall speaker tab. This is the first time team Sri Lanka has had more than one member in the top 50 speaker tab.

The tournament was won by Scotland, who beat Wales 8-1, opposing the motion "This house regrets South Africa's decision to use the Truth and Reconciliation Commission rather than prosecuting perpetrators of crimes committed under Apartheid". Teoh Ren Jie of Team Singapore was crowned Best Speaker for the second time.

Our heartiest congratulations go out to the team and its coach, Ms. Sandaruwani de Silva for doing the country proud.

Monday, October 24, 2011

National Team for World Schools Debating Championship 2012

The team to represent Sri Lanka at the World Schools Debating Championship 2012, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa next year, was selected over the course of the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of October 2011. Selections were conducted by the Debaters' Council of Sri Lanka, and the team to participate at WSDC 2012 is as follows:

Maleen Jayasuriya - Wesley College
Meghal Perera - Ladies' College
Sanjit Dias - S. Thomas' College
Tamara Fernando - Colombo International School
Maya Wijeyeratne - Ladies' College

We congratulate the team members on their selection and wish them the best of luck as they represent the country at the Championship.

Lilian Nixon Challenge Shield 2011

The Debate Competition for the Lilian Nixon Challenge Shield 2011, organized by Ladies' College, was held on the 22nd and 23rd of October, with the participation of around 18 teams. At the end of the three preliminary debates worked off on the 22nd, the eight teams that broke into the knock out rounds were (in descending order) ,

1) Wesley College (A)
2) Colombo International School (A)
3) S. Thomas' College
4) Royal College (A)
5) Ananda College (A)
6) Trinity College
7) Royal College (B)
8) Anula Vidyalaya

The two teams which ultimately made their way to the final were Wesley College and S. Thomas' College. The motion for the final was "This house would conduct pharmaceutical trials on death row convicts".

Wesley College, who proposed the motion, was represented by,

Maleen Jayasuriya (C)
Sithira Gunasekera
Chrisjith Xavier

while S. Thomas' College comprised,

Sanjit Dias (C)
Sidath Gajanayaka
Shamlin Abdul Cader

At the end of it all, the five-member judging panel voted unanimously in favour of Wesley College, making them the champions of the competition and the winners of the Challenge Shield. The panel of adjudicators comprised Deshan Pushparajah, Shamalie Jayatunge, Vishaka Wijenayake, Shan Dantanarayana and Sandaruwani de Silva.

Sanjit Dias of S. Thomas' College was adjudged the Most Outstanding Speaker of the competition.

This competition also incorporated a Novice Final for new and inexperienced debaters, for the very first time, and the two teams which competed in it were Methodist College and Ananda College (B). The Novice Final was ultimately won by Ananda College.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WSDC 2012 Selections- Rescheduled

Selections for the National Team for WSDC 2012 have been postponed, and will not be held on the 15th and 16th of October. Selections will take place on the following weekend (22nd and 23rd October 2011). Those who are interested in participating at the selection debates are requested to send in their CVs to the following address:

Any further developments will be made known on the blog.