World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships


A somewhat disorganised collection of results from the 2016 World Individuals Debating and Public Speaking Championships hosted by Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, drawn mostly from Tweets and various facebook pages.

On a largely unrelated note, it appaers that WIDPSC 2017 will be hosted in Sydney, Australia.

Major health warning, both in the fact that the underlying sources haven’t been verified, and I may well have made mistakes in translating those results into this post. Any errors are my responsibility alone, and my apologies in advance. That said, here goes:

Best Speaker: Natalie Ganzhorn (Canada)
Best ESL Speaker: Martynas Galnatis (Lithuania)
Debate: Eric Tang (USA)
After-Dinner Speaking: Angela Xiao (USA)
Persuasive Speaking: Rowan Mockler (South Africa)
Impromptu Speaking: Elizabeth Roberts (Canada)
Interpretive Reading: Nicole Sung (Australia)

WIDPSC 2015 – Full Tab [RESULTS]

Some of the many vital and often underappreciated volunteers

We now have the top 50 overall rankings and top 20 for each category, released by WIDPSC 2015 online at their facebook page. These confirm that the Break-night/AIDPSC order were largely correct, though I had anticipated fewer tied rankings.
As always any errors are mine and you might want to check the original document to be 100% sure of results.

The Grand Finalists and results of the Grand Final can be found in the earlier results post. I have tried to highlight the Champion in faux gold and Grand Finalists in light red.

Overall Top 50


Rank Name Country Score
1 Samantha Starkey Canada 2174
2 Elizabeth Roberts Canada 2149
3 Martine Duffy Canada 2142
4 Natasha Noore Australia 2139
5 Sarah Hick Canada 2136
6 Philip Balson United States 2134
7 Desmond Fairall South Africa 2127.5
8 Ji Min Kang Hong Kong 2109
9 Peter Koczanski Canada 2106
9 Micaella Rogers South Africa 2106

WIDPSC 2015 – Grand Final [RESULTS]

Thanks to Joy Pamnani of Maryknoll Convent School for delivering these in real-time via the SCMP Young Post twitter account. Updated with more details thanks to Brian Wong (Island School) via the WIDPSC 2015 Facebook Page. The overall rankings seem to suggest that the AIDPSC/Break-night order were largely correct or at least closer to the actual results.

To my knowledge the Grand Final was recorded and will be uploaded at some point. If it is a high-quality recording then it will take a little longer to process and edit, though I suspect it will be worth the wait.

Overall Rankings

  1. Samantha Starkey (Canada)
  2. Elizabeth Roberts (Canada)
  3. Martine Duffy (Canada)
  4. Natasha Noore (Australia)
  5. Sarah Hick (Canada)
  6. Philip Balson (United States)
  7. Desmond Fairall (South Africa)
  8. Ji Min Kang (Hong Kong)
  9. Peter Koczanski (Canada)
  10. Micaella Rogers (South Africa)

Source: @youngposthk

Persuasive Speaking

  • Desmond Fairall (South Africa) [Champion]
  • Natasha Noore (Australia) [Runner-up]

After-dinner Speaking

  • Shimali De Silva (Hong Kong) [Champion]
  • Brendan Allan (South Africa) [Runner-up]

Interpretive Reading

  • Imaan Kherani (Canada) [Champion]
  • Emily Kelsall (Canada) [Runner-up]


  • Olivia Railton (Canada) [Champion]
  • Philip Balson (United States) [Runner-up]
  • Samantha Starkey (Canada) [2nd Runner-up]
  • Rebecca Mqamelo (South Africa) [3rd Runner-up]

Impromptu Speaking

  • Anant Butala (Australia) [Champion]
  • Philip Balson (United States) [Runner-up]

WIDPSC 2015 – Grand Finalists

This time direct from the mouth of the lion (eg. the official WIDPSC 2015 facebook page) which can be located here. Full list after the break.

Philip Balson (United States) becomes the only person this year to make multiple Grand Finals, being scheduled to appear in both Impromptu Speaking and Debating. Philip Balson previously came in 14th in persuasive speaking and 12th in debating at WIDPSC 2013 in Durban, and was 3rd overall at WIDPSC 2014 in Lithuania.
Canada’s dominance in the Finals is less apparent in Grand Final positions, with 4 of the 12 spots. South Africa follows closely behind with 3 of the Grand Final positions, Australia and the US with two a piece and hosts Hong Kong with the final Grand Final spot.

In other interesting but probably insignificant observation, there are another 3 of this year’s finalists who, like Philip, are at their third WIDPSC (since WIDPSC 2013). These are Natalie Ganzhorn (Canada), Jacob South-Klein (England) and Brendan Allan (South Africa). Samantha Starkey (Canada) is at her fourth having began at WIDPSC 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.

Assuming that generally speaking those in the Grand Final were higher ranked following the prelims unfortunately does not shine much light on the race for overall best speaker. Although statistically this might suggest the YP order is more accurate, the reality is that the AIDPSC order is hardly any different (weighted 60 and 65 respectively).

The Grand Finals will be at DGS later today (Saturday) with teams departing on Sunday.

Team Australia (From AIDPSC on facebook)


WIDPSC 2015 – Finalists

Sadly haven’t been able to take part in any capacity despite WIDPSC 2015 being held in Hong Kong, but in a grateful break from Finals revisions, we have the 2015 Finalists courtesy of the SCMP Young Post, all neatly listed on their website here.

The full list of finalists are towards the end of this post. I don’t have the time to attempt a full analysis but here’s some initial observations based on the list of finalists. As always, any errors are my responsibility and no-one else’s. A useful metric to keep in mind is that there are 57 final spots for grabs this year.

Number of Finals

Martine Duffy (Canada) is the only participant to make all four finals. Close behind are Desmond Fairall (South Africa), Elizabeth Roberts (Canada), Natasha Noore (Australia), Philip Balson (United States), Samantha Starkey (Canada) and Sarah Hick (Canada) at 3 finals a piece. That makes 6 people on 3 finals each.

There are only 4 people in 2 finals each, these being Emma Potvin (Canada), Imaan Kherani (Canada), Ji Min Kang (Hong Kong) and Peirce Dickson (Canada). We therefore have a tail end of 27 people in 1 final each.

Finalists by country

Only 6 countries have any finalists. Canada come out overwhelming on top with 24 final spots, a little under 50% of them. Next behind them are South Africa on 9 finalists and Australia on 8 finalists. Hong Kong and the United States each have 7 final spots and England snag the last 2.

Looking at each category:
Persuasive Speaking: Canada – 6, South Africa – 3, Australia/Hong Kong/United States – 1
Interpretive Reading: Canada – 6, Australia/Hong Kong – 2, South Africa/United States – 1
Debating: Canada – 7, South Africa – 2, Australia/Hong Kong/United States – 1
Impromptu Speaking: Canada/Australia/United States – 3, South Africa/Hong Kong/England – 1
After-dinner Speaking: Canada/South Africa/Hong Kong – 2, Australia/United States/England – 1

Overall Rankings

It’s notoriously hard to predict overall rankings based only on the list of finalists, not the least because we are missing data for the unknown category/categories for just about everyone who aren’t in the Finals of all categories. It is possible that the YP list is in order, or that the powerpoint shown last night and detailed here by AIDPSC is in order, or quite possibly that the tabbsters are messing with us (in all seriousness I hope this is what happened) and neither is the correct prelim order.

The YP list gives us a likely top 7 of: Martine Duffy (Canada), Philip Balson (United States), Desmond Fairall (South Africa), Sarah Hick (Canada), Peirce Dickson (Canada), Imaan Kherani (Canada), Ji Min Kang (Hong Kong)
The AIDPSC order gives us a likely top 7 of: Samantha Starkey (Canada), Elizabeth Roberts (Canada), Sarah Hick (Canada), Martine Duffy (Canada), Desmond Fairall (South Africa), Natasha Noore (Australia), Philip Balson (United States)

The AIDPSC order seems to be more consistent if we take into account the number of finals that a particular person made (eg. the top 7 are those 7 people who made 3 or more finals). Even then it should be noted that I’ve given the ‘missing’ category quite a low weighting (that is I’ve assumed they will all performed reasonably consistently and were close to breaking). So how well these 7 do in the unknown category relative to each other will be the deciding factor.

In any event, it seems likely that a Canadian will walk away with the top prize, and perhaps not that surprising given that they have 4 of the 7 that made 3 or more finals. The closing ceremony is on Saturday (tomorrow) with the Finals currently ongoing.



The 2014 World Individuals Debating and Public Speaking Championships, once again hosted by Druskininkai in Lithuania, concluded on the 29th of April 2014. A tab has not been publicly published, and WIDPSC still remains one of the least-covered international level tournaments. Hopefully, with Hong Kong set to host WIDPSC 2015 this will change for the better. Thanks also to Brian Wong (Team HK – WIDPSC 2014) from whom many of these results originate.

Whilst there is a lack of official results (I’ve cobbled together as much of what I can find online), there is certainly not a lack of photos or videos, with the organisers very efficiently making them available at https://www.facebook.com/widpsc2014. A video recording of the WIDPSC 2014 Grand Finals is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Any errors in the information included below are mine and mine alone. Given that I was not present in Lithuania, and haven’t been to a WIDPSC in around 5 years these results are highly likely to contain inaccuracies. Please do not rely on these as definitive information in any manner.

All speakers from HK unless otherwise denoted

Daniel Huang [Canada]

Daniel Huang [Canada] (Facebook: WIDPSC2014)

Overall Rankings
1st – Daniel Huang [Canada]

WIDPSC 2013 – Grand Final [VIDEOS]

Other WIDPSC 2013 videos can be found in my earlier post. These are only from the Grand Finals hosted at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Debating Grand Final
Motion: THW sacrifice economic gain for the good of the environment
Proposition: Nick Marine (South Africa) and Emma Pottinger (South Africa)
Opposition: Joseph Kahn (South Africa) and William Richardson (Canada)
Result: Joseph Kahn – Champion; Emma Pottinger – 1st runner-up; Nick Marine – 2nd runner-up; William Richardson – 3rd runner-up

After-Dinner Speech Champion
Emily Leijer (Australia)


WIDPSC 2013 Speaker Tab [RESULTS]

The overall speakers tab for the 2013 World Individuals Debating and Public Speaking Championships hosted in Durban, South Africa are included below. These results are taken from the WIDPSC Facebook Page.

1. Connor Campbell (Canada)
2. Joseph Kahn (South Africa)
3. Nicholas Marine (South Africa)
4. Madhav Menon (Hong Kong)
5. William Richardson (Canada)
6. Raja Noureddine (Australia)
7. Nicolo Mazaro (USA)
7. Ryan Sherbo (Canada)
9. Lucien Wang (Hong Kong)
10. Ella Thomson (Canada)
11. Greta Hoaken (Canada)
12. Emma Pottinger (South Africa)
13. Jaclyn Flom (Canada)
14. Philip Balson (USA)
15. Clare Moffat (Canada)
16. Zachariah Lee (Hong Kong)
17. Shaun Gohel (USA)
18. John French (USA)
19. Katie McAllister (Australia)
20. Pierce Dickson (Canada)


The videos of the Grand Final have been moved to a separate post for simplicity’s sake. These are videos of the rounds and of WIDPSC 2013 as a whole, created by the Clifton Film Academy at Clifton School, Durban, South Africa.

Debate Final 3
Proposition: Clare Moffat (Canada) and Nicholas Marine (South Africa)
Opposition: Aspen Wang (Hong Kong) and Waris Asmal (South Africa)

Interpretive Reading Finals
Claudia Tam (Hong Kong) [Broke 1]