The 26th, 27th and 28th of November 2021 saw the second iteration of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Debating Championship organised by the Debating Society of Trinity College. You can read last year’s review from the link below.
This year’s tournament also marked the 1st time the tournament was open as an all-island tournament with 36 teams taking part. The tournament which was endorsed by the Debaters’ Council of Sri Lanka was held online this year as well as so did all the tournaments in the circuit.
Ladies’ College Colombo (LC A) emerged as the champions this year after defeating Colombo International School, Colombo (CIS A) with a decisive 4:1 split in the finals. LC A also won against Hillwood College Kandy A (Hillwood A) while CIS A won against Ladies College B ( LC B) in the semi-finals.
While this was the second time the tournament was organised, and the organising committee had experience from last year, tension and spirits were high as this was the first time the tournament was open for schools from all over the island.
Planning started in late August, invitations were sent and dates were booked on the Debaters’ Council calendar in September, and we started contacting judges soon after. By late October most of the preparations were complete, groups were made, documents were sent, Tabby cat was prepared ( A software used to input teams, institutions, motions, adjudicators and overall rankings of the tournament) and judges were confirmed. Finally, the day of the tournament arrived. On the 26th, before the zoom call opened, the organising committee gathered at the CLC to start the tournament.
Day 1 saw the 1st 2 of 5 preliminary rounds and was quite a good start for the tournament.
Day 2 turned up the heat with the remaining 3 preliminary rounds and the knock out octo- finals.
Day 3 was tenser than the previous 2 days as these were the knockout rounds. At last, two teams were left standing. Colombo International School, Colombo (CIS A) as proposition and Ladies College Colombo ( LC A) as opposition debating the motion, “On balance, this house believes that trade unions have done more harm than good in Sri Lanka” with the win going to opposition LC A.
Apart from the finals given below are a few favourites from the tournament.
This house would not allow Siripala to destroy the art
Info slide- Siripala, a private art collector, owns a valuable piece of art that is of extreme importance to Sri Lanka’s heritage. In his will, he has instructed that the painting be cremated with him,
This house believes that professional sports teams should not be permitted to draft players without secondary education
This house, as the LGBT movement, would abandon the narrative that queer children should be loved because parental love should be unconditional.
This house prefers a world in which the majority of people believe in moral pessimism rather than moral optimism.
Info Slide- Moral pessimism is the belief that humans are innately bad, and need to learn morality from external sources, fighting their inner urges to be better. Moral optimism is the belief that humans are innately good, and need to follow their true selves and overcome societal expectations to be better.
Teams that broke into the knockout rounds;
- CIS A
- Ladies’ College A
- Ananda College A
- Royal College A
- Ladies’ College B
- St. Bridget’s Convent A
- Wesley College
- S. Thomas’ College A
- Royal College B
- Holy Family Convent A
- Hillwood College A
- Wesley College A
- Visakha Vidyalaya A
- Ananda College B
- S. Thomas’ College B
- Devi Balika Vidyalaya A
With that, the tournament came to an end and was filled with plenty of anxiety attacks, surprises, and many more. The organising committee didn’t forget to play a bit of casual music in between rounds, to ease the pressure and provide a laid back environment.
As smoothly as the tournament went it wasn’t without some setbacks and a few unforeseen circumstances, like a presentation slide mishap, Covid scares to name a few. The organising committee also had a master plan up their sleeve; to present a Gag motion as comedic relief to the teams (safe to say, the joke was a hit).
After the tournament, we were very pleased to hear positive comments from the teams and even adjudicators. It was a happy sight to see that the participants enjoyed the tournament, and it was safe to say that the tournament ended on a very “positive” note (pun intended).
A special thanks goes out to our Principal and Vice-Principal for supporting us in this venture, to the Debaters Council for endorsing the tournament and for helping with the motions. To the Library and IT staff for facilitating us and helping us out in the technical areas, to our two Teachers-in-Charge Mrs Premeela Vijeyakumar and Mrs Fathima Majeed for their unconditional assistance, for staying up late with the debaters disregarding their own timetables, and for tolerating our unpredictable ideas in organising. And finally to our coach, Mr Lithmal Jayawardena, without whom the very idea of holding an All-Island Tournament, wouldn’t have been possible. His wisdom in organising tournaments, paired up with his immense help in preparations, proved to be the catalyst in the tournament’s success.
The Lakshman Kadirgamar Debating Championship’s 2nd year had it all; pandemics, heart attacks, and pleasant surprises. It managed to live up to its name in the hill country and will carry on a legacy for years to come.
Review by Pavara Rambukwella