The 8th KM De Lanerolle Memorial Inter-School Debate Competition is set to draw for a close in a fortnight’s time. Last year’s finalists Gateway College and CIS, Kandy have booked their places in the finals for the second consecutive year, set for what one hopes is a cruncher of a finale for the annual event.
Drawing in 11 teams, this year’s competition saw fortune not favouring several good teams, who, had they been otherwise placed in the draw, could have made a better deal out of proceedings. Topics for the tournament were pooled in from six subject areas and each team was given a wider role in selecting their respective moot points. The score system was also revised for this year (on a trial basis) with the expectation of giving countering and the adherence to base arguments added priority.
Gateway College advanced to the finals defeating Good Shepherd Convent and Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala, while CIS saw through Mahamaya College and Hillwood College. Both these teams were seeded in virtue of their performances last year and were in receipt of ‘byes’ in the First Round. Parallel to the finals, Hillwood and Maliyadeva are set to tussle for the Third Place of the competition. Maliyadeva had earlier defeated Girls’ High School, Kandy. Hillwood, after receiving a walk over from Springfield College defeated Zahira College in the Quarter Finals.
Kingswood’s team for the competition consisted of Asif Moujood (who lead in the unavailability of Sachith Wijesekara), Adeeb Jibran, Abdul Azeez and Sathira Leukebandara. They lost to Mahamaya College in a repeat of the now infamous defeat they (Kingswood) had of the same opponent at the same venue in the same competition 6 years ago. In 2006, an Achini Samaranayake led MCK sidelined Kingswood who, in that year, was seeking a triple triumph at the competition under study. 6 years on, Gateway College is a sly five speeches away from bargaining for a triple triumph, having won this competition in 2010 and 2011. They have 3 of their 4 speakers retained from last year in Rajadurai, Dharmasena and Modder.
Running into the finals, the most tightly contested debate of the entire competition is arguably the Gateway-Good Shepherd contest, where the verdict was tied at 1-1, with one score sheet coming out equal. In the absence of a super over, the jurists had to seek a winner through the difference of total marks.
Returning to Kingswood to be slightly more involved in these activities was a wake up call in many ways. While the young Kingswood team gives enough hopes to bank a promise in them — for in spite of their newness they have much to deliver in the year to come — the general lethargy and lack of commitment from certain other quarters whose shirt slogan “KFE” could have meant anything but Kingswood For Ever was a bit hard to stomach.
May the better team on the day win!