Yajyoo Shrestha, Avash Byanjankar and Pradeepta Adhikari are currently representing Nepal in the WORLD SCHOOLS DEBATING CHAMPIONSHIP in Singapore. The championship which kicked off yesterday will continue till the 6th of August. The three young debaters will be competing against fellow debaters aged 16-18 from all corners of the globe. Debate Yatra is supporting the participants throughout their WSDC journey. The team will also be showcasing a folk dance during the cultural evening. England won the WSDC 2014 title with South Africa coming in close as a runner-up followed by Canada and Ireland in the semi-finals. Some of the most successful countries in WSDC are Austrlia, England and Scotland.
I caught up with Yajyoo and Avash to talk about their journey so far. Unfortunately, Pradeepta was unable for comment (will share her thoughts once I get hold of her). All the best to the three!
What did it take for you to be selected to represent Nepal at the WSDC 2015?
AVASH – In January 2015, Debate Yatra organized a debate tournament, the All Kathmandu Debating Championship, which followed the format used at WSDC. Our performance at said tournament determined our selection to WSDC Team Nepal.
YAJYOO – Passion, determination and interest. Had I not shown these qualities in the All Kathmandu Debating Championships that I had participated in, I would probably not have been selected in WSDC 2015.
How are you preparing for the championship in Singapore?
YAJYOO – We are practicing through practice debates with some other debaters of Kathmandu and building up our debate cases over Skype calls.
AVASH – We have been having around 3 debates a week every week for the past two months, and we have been researching on a very wide range of topics so that we’re prepared for anything WSDC gives us in their impromptu rounds.
Can you briefly share how your journey into the world of ‘debate’ started?
YAJYOO – When I was in 3rd grade, I debated for the first time. The praises I got that day motivated me to debate more. But, that was only the orthodox style of debating. My journey into the world of WSDC format of debating began when I was in the first year of my A Level studies. I had been awarded as the best debater in my college and therefore, I got the opportunity to participate in All Kathmandu Debating Championships (AKDC) and represent my college, Trinity Int’l College.
AVASH – It was September 2014, and the Chelsea Debate Club was having a debate session. I attended it, and fell in love with the format of WSDC. I then took part in a practice debate the same day, and I was hooked.
What does ‘debate’ mean to you and what impacts do you think it has for the wider community and people?
AVASH – Debating for me, is a passion. It is a way for me to learn from all angles, a way for me to see several different perspectives on the same issue and that is probably the reason why I love debating. Debating has a lot of benefits for the wider community, because it teaches you several life skills such as critical analysis and public speaking, as well as responsibility and teamwork.
YAJYOO – Be it a debate with international debaters over banning of zero-hour contracts or a squabble with my sibling over the remote control, debating is something that defines me, for I am a person who cannot stay mum and has to voice my opinions. Debate means a lot to me. I believe that debating teaches us how not only to argue on a point but to justify the argument as well, which needs a lot of research and knowledge about the subject. I, personally, have learned to look at things in a broader perspective and have really grown as a person. If more people were to adapt to the debating culture, I believe that the impacts would be really positive.
How does one get better in debating?
AVASH – Practice, practice, and more practice! Debating is like a muscle; you have to work on it regularly to improve. In addition to practicing, you have to be open to constructive criticism and such kind of feedback, and you have to learn from it. If you do that, you improve very quickly when it comes the field of debating.
YAJYOO – Any answer to this question is definitely something debatable. 😉 However, in my view, the way to get better in debating is probably developing rationality and gathering as much knowledge. As the saying goes: You can never win an argument with a dumb person. The more rational you are, the better you understand about things and learn to accept their benefits and point out their flaws with proper analysis, the better you get in debating.
Where does Debate Yatra come into your journey?
YAJYOO – As I mentioned earlier on, AKDC is the reason why I got into the WSDC format of debating. As Debate Yatra was the organizer of AKDC, it would only be fair to say that Debate Yatra came as the starting point of my journey . And of course, had Saurav Dai not been there, I would not have gotten this grand opportunity to represent my country in Singapore in World School Debating Championships. So, I would really like to thank Debate Yatra for all the support and opportunities that it has given.
AVASH – Debate Yatra has been my rocket when it comes to the world of debating. I got my first real push in debating in their tournament, and ever since then, I’ve always been attending all their programs and participating in them, whether it be their weekly debate sessions, or debate orientation to new people that are interested in debating, or even friendly futsal matches between debaters. Without Debate Yatra’s influence, I wouldn’t be a quarter of the debater that I am now.
Sounds fascinating! And fun too! We should all try it 😉
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