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.