PETALING JAYA: The team from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) were all smiles after emerging winners of the United Asian Debating Championship (UADC).
Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, 23, Ameera Natasha Moore, 22, and Mubarrat Wassey, 23 took home the trophy at the UADC grand finals held in Indonesia on Tuesday night.
They defeated fellow Malaysian team, Universiti Teknologi MARA, for the title.
It was a double joy for IIUM team as Syed Saddiq, a fourth year law student, was judged best overall speaker.
The tournament, hosted by Universitas Udayana in Bali, is Asia's largest, most prestigious and most prolific debate competition.
The annual oratory tournament lists the definitive team and speaker rankings in the continent after eight preliminary rounds.
A total of 92 teams consisting of 276 speakers took part in the competition from June 4 to 12.
"It's almost a clean sweep for the country and also the university," said Syed Saddiq, adding that he was "genuinely happy" for achieving the goal which the team had spent years trying to reach.
Ameera said: "I'm ecstatic and also very grateful to my teammates, coaches and our institution for being so supportive."
"What makes it so precious is that, once again, I was able to team up with two of my best friends and share this moment together," she added.
Although hailing from Bangladesh, Mubarrat said he was honoured to represent a Malaysian institution.
"When we win, we win on behalf of a Malaysian university. In the past three years, I have fallen in love with this country. I have made friends for life, and the good food makes me feel at home," Mubarrat said.
"I feel like I represent two nations because when I win, Bangladeshi people will also contact me telling me how proud they are. So that also fills me with pride," he explained.
In UADC rules, the best ranked team may not necessarily emerge as champions as they may still be defeated in the five subsequent knock-out rounds. However, IIUM managed to pull through all of them.
The IIUM contingent consisted of three teams, including one from the university's Centre for Foundation Studies (CFS).
Two teams from IIUM, the CFS team and UiTM ranked among the top 10 teams in Asia.