In a first-ever, an Indian student and debating team have managed to win the World Schools Debating Championships and bringing home the laurels this year are Chennai students Tejas Subramaniam, Bhavya Shah, Manya Gupta, Saranya Ravindran and Prithvi Arun who even won the best speakers though at different ranks. While Tejas bagged the trophy for ‘Best speaker in the world’, Bhavya, the first visually impaired speaker, was ranked the sixth-best speaker in the world and Manya carried home the trophy for the 14th best speaker in the world.
The Indian team was pitted against tough competitors from native English-speaking countries who have usually dominated the winning trophy especially Australia, which has majorly won the championship and England. This year, the championship was held in Bangkok where our team effortlessly and invincibly opted for topics like international relations and economics over sports and pop culture to land with their thunderous win.
In the final round, team India proposed the motion “This house regrets the glorification of soldiers as heroes” and defeated Canada by 9-0, a feat never achieved before in the past decade.
In an interview with the New Indian Express, Tejas, a student of Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary School in Chennai, shared his experience of conquering the global debating circuit, “Because we are accented, sometimes I think we are not understood. Like, for example, when the judges give us our feedback, they tell us you made a new argument in your third speech when we clearly made it in our earlier speeches too.”