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!