Lankan debating team at world championships

The Sri Lanka Schools Debating Team for 2010 recently took part in the World Schools Debating Championship in Doha, Qatar. The World Schools Debating Championship is an international debating competition for secondary school students.

Having started in 1988, the tournament has been held in seventeen different countries around the world, and has been the platform for the best student debaters around the world to exhibit their talents. Past patrons of the tournament have included Nelson Mandela and Tony Blair. This year’s tournament will see participants from 57 countries.

The 11 day tournament will consist of 8 first round debates, after which the top 16 teams will move into the knockout rounds. The team representing Sri Lanka was selected by the Debaters’ Council of Sri Lanka under the guidance of the Ministry of Education.

The Debaters’ Council is an organisation dedicated to uplifting the standards of debate in the country through the use of tournaments and workshops, the standardising of adjudication, and the promotion of Sri Lankan debaters. It was formed by a group of past and present debaters in September 2006, since then it has acted as the apex institution for English Debating in the country.

The Sri Lankan team has been training for over 7 months now under Deshan Pushparajah, a past National Debater and Coach of the team for three years, and other eminent debating personalities in the country.

They have also had the opportunity to gain from direct coaching by eminent foreign coaches, Jessica Prince (The world’s number 01 ranked debater in 2006) and Alex Campbell (A former Head Coach of the Oxford Union).

Contingent representing Sri Lanka was as follows

Sandaruwani De Silva (Capt) - Bishop’s College (18)
Sanjit Dias - S. Thomas’ College (15)
Maleen Jayasuriya - Wesley College (17)
Pranjeevan Kulasingham - S. Thomas’ College (18)
Kithmina Hewage - Colombo International School (18)

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