By Mineth Chathmika Weerasinghe
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.
Early in September, flyers were shared signing the grand arrival of the newest chapter of Speech Olympiad. Testimonials and articles from previous years’ champions were flying through social media, encouraging students to take part in the competition. Taking part in Speech Olympiad, they said, is a life changing journey that will empower one to “Spark A Change”. And this time, it was planned to be held physically, rather than virtually, after four consecutive years.
The Preliminary Round of the fifteenth chapter of Speech Olympiad unfolded at the Faculty of Information Technology at University of Moratuwa on the 15th of October 2022. With registrants of over hundred, the beginning of the Speech Olympiad XV was already on fire.
The opening ceremony began with the lighting of the oil lamp.
One of the contest chairs then read out the rules and regulations and explained the proceedings of the event. Contest Chair Shehan ended with his advice which was particularly motivating, “You will do better than you think you could, I promise”.
At the end of the opening ceremony, all participants were guided to their relevant halls. And so did the contest begin.
“Contestant number 1, Mineth Weerasinghe, are you ready?”
Yes, I was more than ready. I headed over to the front of the room while all eyes were on me, and I started my speech. Nerves, stutters, forgotten words, but it all meant nothing compared to the pride and happiness I felt when walking away from the stage, back towards my seat. I know that I will be cherishing this experience throughout my life.
Then as I watched the rest of the speeches that were delivered in my hall, I was truly in awe with the fascinating stories I heard and the equally wonderful deliveries I witnessed. It was amazing to see how ambitious and talented our Gaveliers are and how much they’re striving to master the art of public speaking.
The contest sailed smoothly from beginning till 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 3 parallel sessions in 3 different rooms with roleplayers in each room. The success of the whole contest depended on the roleplayers and they performed their duties diligently.
The closing ceremony started sharp at 2’ O’clock, a few minutes after the contest had ended. In her speech, the chief judge appreciated all the participants for having shown the courage to come forward and deliver their speeches, and congratulated them all for taking their first steps in the journey of becoming eloquent speakers.
And then, it was time to reveal who the semi finalists of Speech Olympiad XV were; the moment everyone had been eagerly waiting for. Gavelier Shenali, while matching her energy to everyone else in the room, excitedly read out the names of the semi finalists.
- Amirthavarshani Ananthan
- Chemini Mallikarachchi
- Damsith Adikari
- Dulini Himeka
- Dulmi Fonseka
- Kethmi Ruwanima
- Linoja Mendis
- Malintha Fernando
- Saeedha Nazar
- Selani Indrapala
- Thulasithan Gnanenthiram
- Udesh Dangalle
There were also 3 reserved semi-finalists, namely Ameera Thiwanka, Theresa Weerasinghe, and Namina Wijethunga.
All the semi-finalists and reserved semi-finalists were invited on stage and congratulated on being qualified for the Semi Finals of Speech Olympiad XV.
As everyone in the hall cheered and applauded, shouting with excitement and joy for their beloved friends, the Preliminary Round of Speech Olympiad XV reached its end. Gavelier Oshan, one of the Co-chairpersons for the project, delivered his vote of thanks, thanking everyone who helped to make the day a success.
It was the end of a wonderful experience for all the young aspiring speakers who want to journey beyond the horizons and see their fear becoming their passion. This remarkable experience will surely be cherished by everyone for days and days yet to come.