The Financial Express

Bangladesh wins the 'World Cup' of debate

Makes history as the first Asian team to achieve the feat

| Updated: August 03, 2022 12:25:49

(from left) Sourodip Paul and Sajid Asbat Khandaker (from left) Sourodip Paul and Sajid Asbat Khandaker

BRAC A, a team from Bangladesh has clinched the title of World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC), otherwise known as the World Cup of debate. They are the first Asian team to achieve this feat.

The World Universities Debating Championship is the world's largest debating tournament and one of the world's grandest yearly international student events. 

WUDC is held in the British Parliamentary Debate format. Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, hosted the tournament this year. The event was held online owing to COVID-19 constraints. 

A total of 364 teams from all around the world took part in this competition. The 8-days-long WUDC 2022 was inaugurated on July 20. 

BRAC A consisted of Sajid Asbat Khandaker and Sourodip Paul, two postgraduate students of BRAC University. Both of them completed their undergraduate program at the Institute of Business Administration, Dhaka University.

Sajid and Sourodip, the stalwarts of the Bangladesh debating fraternity, have already gained the hallmark of debating in their sparkling careers. 

This duo recently won the Cambridge IV, another prestigious BP debate competition. Sourodip Paul was awarded the best Australasian debater when his team from the Australia National University won Australs 2020. 

BRAC A accumulated 21 points in the preliminary rounds of WUDC 2022 and was the 5th-breaking team advancing to the knockout rounds. 

During those rounds, they outranked Harvard, Oxford, Sydney, and some other prestigious universities. 

In the quarter-finals, BRAC A again defeated Harvard and 3 other prominent universities to burst their way into the semi-final where they denied the Asian powerhouse Ateneo getting a ticket to the finals. 

In the open final, BRAC A defeated Ateneo, the National University of Singapore, and Princeton University with a 9-0 unanimous ballot to grab the cup in style. 

Sajid Khandaker from BRAC A also became the 9th best overall speaker of the competition. 

Bangladesh Debating Council is a thriving debating force in the Asian debate circuit, and this triumph will undoubtedly boost its stature. Every year, hundreds of school children participate in the BDC national campaign to represent the red and green. Sajid and Sourodip, these two names will continue to ring hope in their minds for days to come.

The debating circuit of the country erupted in ecstasy following the results. Asif Mehedi Adi, former president of the BDC, shared his feelings with the Financial Express upon hearing the news. 

“I’m still in disbelief. As the former chair of BDC, I think this is what we all worked for. English debating in Bangladesh became active around 2002 to attend the WUDC and it was individually driven, never institutionalised.” 

“It was all about groups of people passing knowledge to the next generation and that’s how we sustained the program and trained kids for the future. 

“The very fact that we are world champions right now is just unbelievable after all the obstacles that we had to overcome when it came to hosting tournaments and participating,” Asif concluded with ecstasy.

BRAC A's success drew worldwide attention and was lauded by numerous notable debaters. 

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