ISDS Team India at the International Competition for Young Debaters (ICYD) 2017, Cambridge, UK
In 2017, out of around 700 teams from across the world, a total of around 60 of the strongest teams were selected from their respective regions to attend the Final Day of the Competition on April 29, hosted by the Cambridge Union. The final day involves 4 back-to-back preliminary rounds followed by a direct selection to the final – this means only 4 of the 60 top contenders from around the world go into the final. ICYD 2017 saw teams from the UK, the rest of Europe, Canada, and Greece. The first ever team representing India and sponsored completely by the Indian Schools Debating Society (ISDS) participated this year.
This team went on to win ICYD, 2017; an unprecedented achievement for a first-time team, and a milestone for an Indian Team. Tejas was declared the Best Speaker of the tournament while Harsith tied for a close Second Best Speaker. Winning this competition on the first attempt with fresh debaters is a special story that ISDS will continue to tell for years to come.
- Tejas Subramaniam: Tejas is a student at PSBB Senior Secondary School, KK Nagar, Chennai. He is part of the National Debate Team that will represent India at the World School Debating Championship (WSDC), Bali in August, 2017.
- Harsith Ravichandran: Harsith is a student at PSBB Senior Secondary School, KK Nagar, Chennai. He is part of the Indian Development Squad that will be competing at the Asia World Schools Debating Championship (AWSDC) in July, 2017.
The coaching team for this squad was led by Chandrasekar Sriram (21), a university student with an illustrious debating career from the NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. He is a distinguished trainer at ISDS and an Indian National Debating Team alumnus.
The students, who were exposed to the BP format of debating for the first time in late January 2017 won all their preliminary 4 rounds, therefore breaking as the first ranked team, into the finals. In doing so, they faced off and beat several native speakers from traditional and high profile debating institutions such as Eton College, Westminster College, Dulwich College and teams all the way from Canada. In the final, the motion debated was “This house would require companies to place graphic images of animal suffering on all products or food whose production has harmed or killed animals”. The ISDS team from India unanimously won the debate from Opening Opposition, against two teams from Canada and Dulwich College (which even had a defending champion speaking on the team!).
The organization of an Indian regional round for ICYD in January 2017 is ISDS’ first foray into British Parliamentary debating – they are nothing short of ecstatic that the team representing them has brought back this victory.