The best speaker wins

Cricket appeared to be everybody’s favourite point of assertion at the final round ‘Be Heard In Australia’, a public speaking contest for Chennai school students organised by the Indo Australian Association and Hindustan College of Arts and Science this weekend.

The winner was Nudhara Yusuf, a student of Vels International, who stood out among the contestants with her soft-spoken ease on stage. She did not speak about cricket, and instead, highlighted other economic and cultural apects of the growing partnership between India and Australia. She was also one of the rare speakers to eschew the podium, choosing instead to stroll across the stage and converse with the audience comfortably. Yusuf won an all-paid trip to Australia, with opportunities to visit schools and universities there and interact with the students.

The fiery Jita Mohapatra of PSSB Millennium came in the second place and won a similar academic visit to a prestigious university in Mysuru.

Joshna James of Spartan School won the third prize of ₹ 10,000.

The topic was the same for all eleven contestants, who had made their way to the podium for the final after having beaten 663 other competitors in multiple rounds and training workshops extended over a month. Dressed in ethnic and western formals complete with polished shoes and blazers, the participants covered a range of issues in their speeches, such as education and cultural exchange to food production, workforce training, natural resources, India and Australia’s common colonial history and, of course, cricket.

Their performances varied in style, from fiery oration and sombre speeches to storytelling, conversational jokes, live cricket commentary, and even attempts at rap. One of the highlights was a participant’s narration of the journey of the Sydney Cove, that first brought Indian travellers to Australian shores in the eighteenth century.

Not only did the finalists have to explain to the audience their take and understanding of the bilateral relationship between the nations, but they also had to undergo a tough round of cross-questioning by the judges.

The judges for the final round were journalist Sanjay Pinto and Air Marshal S Varthaman. Varthaman lauded the “very well spoken” participants for their confidence and enthusiasm. Pinto, who played the tough devil’s advocate grilling the participants in the Questions round, praised their body language and research later.

Australian Consul-General Sean Kelly was also present at the event. Kellyexpressed his admiration of the depth of research done by the students and observed that he might not have been able to do as well within the time frame.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 9:21:24 AM |

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