Czech team at the 7th World Debating Championships
Radim Halfar, Petr Jahoda, Gabriela Římská, Richard Sitta and two coaches Mrs. Marcela Nováková and Mr. René Brinda were members of the Czech team at the 7th World Debating Championships, Cardiff, Wales.
by Richard Sitta
"Welcome to WALES" was the motto of this day. We took it seriously and after arriving at the airport at 21h, we had a pleasant one-hour walk through the centre of Cardiff with all our luggage before finding the Temple of Peace - our meeting point (at night).
Formal introduction to the Debating Championship in the morning at the Temple of Peace. We had our first opportunity to see the other teams and we were surprised how warm they were. Then we had a nice meal (anywhere we went there was a lot of food). In the afternoon we visited St. Fagans Welsh Museum where we could see some of the history of Wales. If someone was not interested in the museum, there was always a possibility to go around and meet people from other teams because the morning was too short to meet them all (anyway I found even the 10 days when we were in Cardiff too short. When we came back we went to a pub with our new friends for a bit of socialising. Obviously it was not like here and no-one got drunk.
We went to another Welsh museum and then to the United College of Atlantic (by the way, there were 6 students at the college - N.B. application forms are available at the deputy head's) and the competition started there with the bye round. Fortunately, we did not participate in this round, so we could see how such debating works - it was a SHOCK. Then we had a bit of training with the Dutch team, very good friends of ours.
Visiting two different schools and eating a lot as usual. However we did not just visit the schools but we had a debate in each. In the first one, it was against France. It was the first experience for both teams but we did much better and won. Our second debate was against the Israeli team. We could have won the debate but they had a very strong weapon - beautiful Naomi sitting in the audience, so we just could not concentrate on what we were saying (only Gabi could). We came back at 22:30, so we couldn't go to socialise - what a shame!
We debated against Pakistan, one of the strongest teams. It was a good debate but they were more experienced and had a very good style - they gave us almost no chance. Petr didn't sleep well the night before (dreaming about Naomi) and instead of Pakistani, he called them Indians. Next debate was against Canada. We did really well, probably because Janet Young was in the audience and we wanted to show her how much we have improved since she left. We made a point even though the Canadian team was saying that we were much better. The adjudicators had a different idea. And finally in the evening we went to meet the other teams - a pub full of debaters.
We lost against Scotland, the difference in English language level was too great and it was even difficult to follow them. However, in the afternoon we beat Spain- They had a better style but much weaker arguments. Then we went to see a public debate between Scotland and Australia. Again we came back very late so we had time just to go to bed.
We made a point against Malaysia because they could not prove to us that sexual desire is greediness and not just a way to reproduce. Then we lost to Singapore, when they explained us the difference between Václav Havel's politics and the pragmatism of Mr. Klaus.
In the morning we did our first shopping - exciting! And in the afternoon we saw the semi finals. In the evening we went to a pub and then to a club - our coaches obviously didn't know. When we came back to our host families, it was almost time to get up again.
Some shopping again and then we went to see Grand Final between New Zealand and Scotland. There were 1500 people watching the final, TV and other media recorded it too. This showed how popular debating is. It is a sport, show and not just a waste of time! Then we had some official socialising until very late and even later an unofficial one. Everybody kept saying "Good bye!!" and crying.
Departure and crying again.