1,200 students fight for debating championship in Chennai

Seasoned debaters from all over the world take part in contest at city engineering college

Chennai: Read everything under the sun, analyse your speech and that of others, verbal spars with your co-partner helps in preparing oneself for debates — such advice was doled out by seasoned debaters at the ongoing World Universities Debating Championships in the city.

Almost 1,200 students from leading universities in the world are battling the three-day-long championship at Rajalakshmi Engineering College. As the days move on, the intensity gets a notch higher with competitors engaging in verbal duels.

Tomas Beerthus, a student participant from the Netherlands, says, “The quality of debating is higher this year and teams from the UK and Australia seem to be good.” Tomas was also a part of the previous two meets which took place in Manila and Berlin.

Speaking of his second visit to India, he says, “In India, I find people more forthcoming and in Chennai too. Though the gruelling sessions leave no space for visits in the city, I have managed to explore some streets.”

The competition is divided into three categories of open, English as first language and English as second language.

“The system is built to make a level playing field as many are from third world countries or from countries where English is not the native language,” says Marietta Gadeke, a student organiser from Germany who has been debating for the past ten years.

Tomas adds, “Debates help us develop analytical skills and gives structured thinking. The skill allows us to do better research and better presentations.” On honing debating skills, he adds, “Read a lot, especially newspapers, and try concentrating on current issues.

For example, the economic crisis or the situation in Syria will figure in the debates. Keeping abreast with that gives an edge over others.

Talking of how to deal with the crucial time frame of 15 minutes given to prepare on a topic, Marietta says, “Do not panic. Try looking at the general concerns of the topic in motion. Suppose if it is on patents, the larger concern is of differences in first world and third world countries. There­fore, students need to see the larger picture and debate the motion accordingly.”

( Source : dc )
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