The Journey of Whispers: Preliminary Round of Speech Olympiad XVI – SO Blog Series

By Saai Syvendra

Speech Olympiad is an annual intra-university speech contest organized by the Gavel Club of University of Moratuwa and is one of the most anticipated events in the university calendar. Young enthusiastic orators in the university, coming from all faculties, gather here to share their stories, not only aiming for the crown but also for the experience they will be cherishing throughout their lifetime.

The caption, “Transforming your Whispers to Roars!” made the university students eagerly register for Speech Olympiad XVI. After multiple training sessions and late-night practices, it was finally the day; the day whispers would be transformed into roars. The Preliminary Round of Speech Olympiad XVI was on the 1st of October at the IT Faculty of University of Moratuwa. More than 80 participants were competing to be one of the 12 speakers advancing to the semi-finals. The participants were divided into four halls, from which the top three were to move forward.

All the speakers started gathering at the IT faculty with a lot of enthusiasm and a bit wet, all thanks to the unpredictable weather that persisted. Speakers were going through their scripts and fine-tuning for one last time. Gavelier Oshani commenced the day’s proceedings by inviting all the speakers and recognizing the Chief Judge, DTM Zameen M. Saleem, and his panel of judges. The control was handed to Gavelier Savin, one of the Contest Chairs, to brief the speakers on the rules and regulations. After the briefing, the participants were led to their halls by the respective Sergeant-at-arms.

The contest was going on in all four halls simultaneously. Every speaker shared their story and gave a thoughtful message at the end. Some speeches were filled with fascinating stories while others gave the audience food for thought. Speeches varied from topics filled with suspense: “Do you have a lighter?” to topics that asked the audience a question: “Which would you choose? Love or passion?”, to speeches that filled the room with laughter. As the competition went on the audience was taken on a rollercoaster of emotions as they listened to many captivating speeches. It was surely an experience for everyone to cherish for a lifetime. It was amazing to see how ambitious and talented our Gaveliers are and how much they strive to master the art of public speaking. The speakers indeed transformed their whispers into roars. 

The contest sailed smoothly from beginning to end, thanks to the unwavering support from all of the roleplayers. The Sergeant-at-arms helped the contestants with their props, preparations and the overall movement of the contest, while the timers made sure that no second was missed and that the colour cards were displayed promptly. The preliminary round contest happened in four parallel sessions in four different rooms with roleplayers in each room. The success of the whole contest depended on the roleplayers and they performed their duties diligently.

While the contest was going on, numerous people ran up and down to witness the speeches of different contestants as all four halls were happening simultaneously. This excitement of running up and down gradually died as the contest wrapped up. The judges started counting the ballots while the speakers eagerly awaited the list of semi-finalists. Finally, it was the moment everyone awaited. The Chief Judge read the list of semi-finalists and reserved semi-finalists as the audience gave a thundering round of applause.


  1. Adeepa Kularathna
  2. Afrah Rumie
  3. Amirthavarshani Ananthan
  4. Chathura Gunasekara
  5. Damsith Adhikari
  6. Hasindu Warnapura
  7. Lakindu Kariyawasam
  8. Oshan Yalegama
  9. Pasindu Weerasinghe
  10. Poobalaraja Varun
  11. Saai Syvendra
  12. Sasindi Peiris

Reserved Semi-Finalists:

  1. Hesandu Hemal
  2. Inodee Fernando
  3. Safnas Kaldeen
  4. Savinu Aththanayake

Further, the Chief Judge commended the brilliant performances of the contestants and made a note of how hard it was for the judges to pick the semi-finalists as there were a lot of speeches with mesmerizing ideas. Regardless of whether they got selected for the semi-finals, all the speakers were over the moon as they knew they transformed their whispers into roars.

After the mandatory photoshoot, all those who remained went to K-Zone for lunch. There was barely any room to walk inside as it was crowded like never before because that day was also World Children’s Day. Therefore we went to Mount Lavinia and had lunch, although it was around 4.00 p.m. Chemini, who was one of the Co-Chairs of Speech Olympiad XVI, gave her vote of thanks in Sinhala, as per the traditions, and the long memorable day ended.