The inaugural Lakshman Kadirgamar Debating Championship
Kingswood College, Kandy was recently crowned champions at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Debating Championship 2020.
The 5th and 6th of November saw a new beginning for debating in the Kandyan region. Trinity College, Kandy commenced their inaugural Debating Championship in tremendous fashion, and it was only fitting to name it after one of the most renowned public speakers of our time. Hence, the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Debating Championship delivered in that same light.
The preparation for the event started late August. The Debaters’ Council was contacted, and necessary arrangements were made to obtain qualified judges, adjudicating criteria and overall advice on how to conduct the tournament. With that guidance, the Organizing Committee, along with the teachers in charge, got to work into making their plan a reality.
The first order of business was to contact the relevant schools into taking part in this tournament, and after a few weeks, the Organizing Committee was thrilled to know that they had 16 teams participating, from the following schools:
- Dharmaraja College, Kandy
- Gateway College Kandy
- Greenhill International School, Kandy
- Hillwood College Kandy
- Kandy Girls’ High School
- Kingswood College Kandy
- Mahamaya Girl’s College, Kandy
- Pushpadana Girls’ College, Kandy
- St. Sylvester’s College, Kandy
Although, the Covid-19 pandemic was a major roadblock in the proceedings of the tournament, the team couldn’t lose hope that easily. It was decided to conduct the tournament online, on the Zoom platform. The new developments had its own set of challenges in store, yet the Organizing Committee was able to manage them successfully, with the day of the tournament drawing ever so nearer.
This tournament served as a way for the hill country to learn the art of Asian Parliamentary debating. In order to familiarise the teams with the style, the Organizing Committee took the initiative to conduct a workshop for them, with the assistance of the Debating Coach of Trinity College Kandy, an immensely qualified, former World Schools’ debater. The workshop took place on the 16th of October, and the efforts of the club proved fruitful, seeing new children rise up to the occasion to grasp this new art of debating.
And finally, game day. On that fateful morning on the 5th of November, spirits were flying high. The Organizing Committee waited in anticipation to kick off their championship, as students from various schools flocked into the meeting. After the opening ceremony, children were allocated into their specific rooms, and the preliminary rounds took place without much trouble. The motions for those rounds were:
ROUND 1: This house regrets the widespread use of TikTok.
ROUND 2: This house would ban the use of plastic in Sri Lanka.
ROUND 3: This house believes that people who don’t wear face masks in public should be criminalized.
The preliminaries ended on a strong note, with the following schools breaking into the quarter finals and keeping their dreams of taking home the gold alive for another demanding day of preparation and debate:
- Hillwood College B
- Kingswood College B
- Mahamaya Girls’ College A
- Pushpadana Girls’ College A
- St. Sylvester’s College A
- Dharmaraja College B
- Kandy Girls’ High school A
- Kingswood College A
Picking up where they left off on the second day, the 6th of November, the debaters showed no signs of slowing down. After a lucky draw in by Dharmaraja C, who were selected for the quarters instead of St.Sylvester’s College A, due to the prior’s forfeit, the quarters were all set to take place, along with the Semi Finals and of course the main event, the Finals.
The motions were as follows:
Quarter finals: This house would stop the search for alternative energy sources and would invest entirely on making nuclear energy safer.
Semi-finals: This house would replace life imprisonment with capital punishment.
Finals: This house would forget third world debt.
Enduring hours of speech and nuanced thinking, two teams were left standing in their pursuit for the ultimate prize: Kingswood College Kandy A, familiar faces in the Kandyan Debating Circuit, taking on the the surprise entrants, the underdogs, Dharmaraja College C.
The Grand Final saw many guests eagerly waiting to witness the very first Asian Parliamentary style debate in the hill country organised by a school, and the public enthusiasm drove the teams to perform at their best. The debate swayed back and forth, with both teams showing heavy intent to win it all. But in a decisive 7-0 split, Kingswood College Kandy, defeated their opponents.
The conclusion of the final signaled immense relief for the teachers in charge Mrs Premeela Vijeykumar and Mrs Fathima Majeed, the coach Mr Lithmal Jayawardhana and of course the student organizing committee, Tharin Rajapakshe, Sadesh Rajapakse, Janidu Jayasekera and Pavara Rambukwella . The late nights, the nerve wrecking turn of events, the endless toil in preparing motions, had all paid off. The Lakshman Kadirgamar Debating Championship had made its mark in the hill country, and the first ever tournament, was nothing short of greatness.
Review by Pavara Rambukwella & Janidu Jayasekara (Debating Society)