SUFFERING a severe bout of food poisoning did not deter Kishen Sivabalan from clinching the Overall Best Speaker title again this year in the Asian Schools Debating Championships. He also won the same title last year.
Kishen thanked his coaches and teachers for encouraging him to look past the pain and giving his best instead.
His team mate Siddharta Adaikalaraj who was also ill, was ranked second Overall Best Debater in Asia.
Both Kishen and Siddharta will be representing Malaysia at the World Schools Debating Championships in Stuttgart, Germany as they are members of the Malaysian National Schools’ Debate team.
“This achievement would not be possible without the support of Siddharta and our other team mate Danial Mecja.
“It was their support and hard work that motivated me through every speech,” he said.
The team comprising Kishen, Siddharta and Danial who are all in Form Four in SMK Sri Permata, started debating when they were in Form One. They are coached by experienced debaters Mohd Mifzal, Sharanya Visualingam and Siron Pereira.
This year the Open Category was won by the Ateneo High School in the Philippines. Malaysia previously won in this category four times in a row from 2012 to 2015.
There was also a category for newer speakers at the event — the Novice Category.
This year, both the teams in the Grand Finals of the Novice Category were from Malaysia namely Nobel International School and Asia Pacific Smart School.
The Novice Championship title went to Nobel International School. The school’s speakers consists of Kuberan Hansrajh Kumaresan, Faythe Chow Ka May and Daphne Wong Kah Mun. Kuberan was named the Novice Grand Finals Best Speaker and was also placed Fifth Best Novice Speaker in Asia for 2016. His team mate, Daphne was tied at Ninth Best Novice speaker.
Two members of the Asia Pacific Smart School team also tied for second in the Novice Top 10 Speaker Awards. They are Ali Azmi and Audrey Lee.
The Asian Schools Debating Championships 2016 was held at Methodist Boys School Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.
Held annually, schools from Singapore, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Mongolia and Malaysia took part in the championships this year.
They are put through six rigorous preliminary rounds where they debate motions ranging from themes such as economics, politics, geopolitics, governance and many more. They are not given the motions in advance nor the sides which they are debating for.
They are also not allowed to use the internet for research once the topics are out and this adds to the challenge for the speakers. The next championship will be held in Manila next year.
The event was brought to Malaysia by Nous Academy.