A TEAM of Cambodian debaters returned to Phnom Penh last week with their trophies held high after triumphing in the 1st Asia Pacific Debating Contest.
The two day championship in Taiwan set the Cambodian team against debaters from nine other countries, with the Cambodians triumphing after winning a final debate with a Taiwanese team on the topic “between economic development and environmental protection, which one is more important?”
Dary Dek, who accompanied the debaters on behalf of NGO Junior Chamber International Cambodia, which sponsored the team, told the Post she was shocked when the results were announced.
“We did not expect to receive this trophy at all as at first we were told it was going to be a friendly debate, so I told my team to relax. But at the closing ceremony, we were announced to be the winner and received the trophy!”
The team leader of the winning group, nineteen-year-old Kheang Satha Boramana said the successful result was due to the vigorous preparation in the weeks ahead of the championship.
“Before going to compete with the other counties, my team tried hard to do research about the topic which we would have to debate and we were also well prepared through good team work, and I knew my team would try to do the best they could.”
“I did not expect that my team would win this debate because the Japan and Taiwanese teams are so strong. however, we were victorious. We were all happy and very proud since the result justified all the training we went through.”
She added that the judges assessed each team on the basis of whether they worked well together and demonstrated good teamwork, as well as their debating skill.
Established in 2010 Junior Chamber International is an NGO that aims at civically engaged adults, aged 18 to 40, and spur them to take action to improve the world around them.
Dary, told The Post that debating is continuing to grow as a sport in Cambodia.
“The process is going very smoothly, especially now the Cambodia team won this debate and trophy. We are proud of the students and next year I hope that this event goes ahead again, and Cambodia can still be the reigning champions.”
Several universities around Cambodia have founded debating teams this year she added.