Novice Champions! – at the 3rd Asia World Schools Debating Championship


It came as a surprise to many people when they heard that Royal College was entering the Asia World Schools Debating Championship. With teams from schools from more than 12 countries such as China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Bangladesh and South Africa, the competition was particularly fierce.

The Asia World Schools Debating Championship, commonly coined as AWSDC, is an annual international debate competition. The 3rd AWSDC took place on the 6th to the 11th of July this year in Bangkok, Thailand. This year there were 6 preliminary debates, after which the top 12 teams go into knockout rounds. Apart from the top 12 teams, a further 4 novice teams would break into the novice semi-finals. Debates started on the 7th of July. The topics were all impromptu this year, and there were 3 preliminary rounds per day. The topics themes for the 1st day were Health, Role of the State and Brexit, respectively. At the end of the day, RC 1 and RC 3 each had 2 wins in the bag, however RC 2 had only 1 win.

Debating at Royal College has always been enthusiastic, even in the face of defeat or disappointment. It is this enthusiasm and love for what they do and who they do it for, that has always driven them to perform their best no matter what the situation. It is an activity which is practiced day in, day out for them to improve as debaters and people. That is why at the start of day 2, RC 2 started off by winning the next 2 debates consecutively (the themes were Economics and Choice). The real pressure however, was on RC 1 as they entered the last debate. If they won, they were into the knockout rounds, if they lost, they were not. Their last debate was against South Africa, a country renowned for its prowess at debating. The theme was Feminism and LGBTQ rights. After an intense debate where both sides performed extremely well, South Africa won on a 2 to 1 split decision between the 3 judges on the panel.

As the adjudicators announced the results at the end of day two, there was silence in the hall as everyone waited with bated breath to see who was through to the partial-octofinals. The only team to advance from Sri Lanka was Ladies College 1. In the novice results, RC 2 advanced into the novice semi-finals along with Ladies College 2, St. Joseph Malaysia, and  Anglo- Chinese Junior College 2.

The next day started off badly for Sri Lanka as LC 1 lost their first knockout debate against Thailand National Team Pool. The next debate was the novice semi- finals with RC 2 against Anglo-Chinese Junior College, and LC 2 against St. Joseph Malaysia. The theme was Animal Rights, with a panel of 5 adjudicators. At the end of the day, the results were announced with RC 2 narrowly winning on a 3 to 2 split decision, advancing to the finals along with LC 2. The novice finals topic was This House fears big data in the hands of big governments, with LC 2 as Government and RC 2 as Opposition. The judging panel consisted of 7 adjudicators. It was determined that the decision would be given along with the senior category later in the evening.

The Grand Final was held on the 11th of July. The winners of the senior category on a 6 to 5 split decision was Indian Schools Debating Society 1. The winners of the novice category on a 4 to 3 split decision, was RC 2. It was a great moment for Royal College. For the 1st time in Royal College history and the 2nd in Sri Lankan history, victory had been secured at an international debating tournament. Radith Nanayakkara and Minul Doluweera from RC 2 were awarded the 8th best novice speaker and 7th best novice speaker awards respectively. Meghal Perera, the coach who had trained the team for the tournament for the last month, was awarded the 8th best adjudicator award.

The team left for Sri Lanka the next day.

Royal College A

  • Mindula Suriyabandara
  • Harindu Kirihene
  • Nadeesh Ratnayaka

Royal College B

  • Minul Doluweera
  • Shalem Sumanthiran
  • Radith Nanayakkara

Royal College C

  • Lakdinu de Silva
  • Sandil Ranasinghe
  • Mithsuka Tillakaratne