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Team India Breaks Records at WSDC ’17: Quarterfinals and Top 10 Speaker!

At WSDC 2017 conducted from August 1-11 in Bali, Indonesia, Team India made it to quarterfinals and had a speaker rank in the top 10 speakers of the tournament for the first time ever! The team comprised of Chaitanya Kediyal (The Doon School, Dehradun), Dhananjay Ashok (The International School, Bangalore), Hemanth Chakravarthy (PSBB KK Nagar, Chennai) Karthik Tadepalli (from National Public School, Bangalore) and Tejas Subramaniam (PSBB KK Nagar, Chennai) broke records.

At the end of the preliminary rounds, Team India ranked 4th, which was its highest ranking ever. This came after India won 7 of the 8 preliminary rounds, beating the national teams from Slovakia, Germany, Kuwait, Greece, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka. After the preliminary rounds, India defeated China in the octofinal knockout round and made it to the quarterfinals for the first time in history. In the quarterfinals, India bowed out to Team Singapore, who went on to become World Champions for the 3rd time.

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The team entered the World Quarter Finals at WSDC 2017, a first in ISDS history. In another first, Dhananjay Ashok made history by ranking the 9th best speaker at the tournament, the first time an Indian speaker ranked in the top 10 at WSDC.

Team ISDS

Individually, Team India’s speakers also won top honours. Dhananjay Ashok made history by ranking as the 9th best speaker overall at the tournament, marking the first time an Indian speaker has ranked in the top 10! Chaitanya Kediyal was ranked the 15th best English as a Second Language Speaker, Hemanth Chakravarthy was ranked the 8th best ESL Speaker, Karthik Tadepalli was ranked the 7th best ESL Speaker and Dhananjay was also ranked the 2nd best ESL Speaker.

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The Indian Schools Debating Society (ISDS), sponsored by the Ramco Group, has been representing India at international debating tournaments since 2008. ISDS teams have won the Asia World Schools Debating Championships 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand and the International Competition for Young Debaters 2017 in Cambridge University, UK. The focus on WSDC comes from a belief that debate, as a competitive exercise in critical thinking and global understanding, enables young minds build effective communication skills that are necessary in an increasingly competitive world.

This year, Team India was selected after a rigorous selection process stretching across 10 regions (Chennai, Bangalore, Cochin, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, Ahmmedabad, Delhi, Dehradun, Kolkata, and Pune) and a separate online track, covering over 300 schools. The top 48 students from the regional and online rounds were invited to national selections in April, held in Chennai, where top coaches from India and around the world engaged them in workshops and debates over 5 days. At the end of the final rounds, the top 5 students were selected to represent India at the World Championships. Following their selection, the team was given intensive coaching during the months leading up to the tournament.

The team was coached by Amrithavarshini Venkatesh and Dhruva Bhat. Amrithavarshini graduated with an integrated Masters in Development Studies from IIT Madras, and is currently working as an analyst at the Mumbai office of Dalberg Global Development Advisors. Dhruva graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelors in Economics, and will be pursuing an MPhil in Development Studies at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. They have both previously represented India at WSDC.

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