Wadha Al-Hemaidi, Qatar national team member
The Qatar national team has been participating in the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) in English since 2008, as part of a fierce competition between more than 70 countries every year. Despite the difficult challenge and the great pressure facing the debaters speaking English as a foreign language, the Qatari debaters continue to participate in the championship every year. Each participation for them is a step on the way to achieving excellence and success.
Every year, new stories are written. The debaters nominated to represent Qatar in WSDC engage in rigorous weekly training at the QatarDebate Center, which combines training in the art of debating, expanding knowledge, developing team strategies and enhancing team cohesion. Debaters usually join Team Qatar’s training for several years before being chosen to represent Qatar in the World Championships. The championship requires preparation, experience and practice of debate skills, as each country chooses its strongest competitors, most of whom have many years of experience. However, Wadha Al-Hemaidi, in her first year, was able to excel convince the coaches to select her for Team Qatar participating in the World School Debating Championship for the year 2021. Wadha wrote an unbelievable story as she recorded two unprecedented historical achievements for Team Qatar.
Alreem Al Aqaily, Moza Al Hajri, Sara Al-Maadeed, Turkia Al-Thani, and Wadha Al-Hemaidi were the five students chosen to represent Qatar in the World Championship. Coach Mubarrat says about Wadha: “Wadha is naturally sharp and talented, in addition to her diligence in training and constant perseverance. Not once did Wadha mention a desire to have an individual speaker award; she has always been focused on team achievements, and due to this attitude, she has now achieved both.”
For a full year, Wadha and her Team Qatar teammates did continuous daily exercises while maintaining academic excellence. The hard work paid off. Wadha managed to achieve the first individual speaker award from the State of Qatar in the history of the WSDC. She did that despite the circumstances imposed by the Corona pandemic and the restrictions that came with it. After a tough competition with more than 300 of the best debaters from around the world, Wadha was ranked as one of the Top 10 EFL (English as Foreign Language) Speakers of the World. Moreover, for the first time in the nation’s history, Wadha and her teammates were able to qualify for the knockouts of the championship after eight rounds full of challenges and fierce encounters. Qatar is currently ranked as the 22nd best English debating nation in the world.
This was Wadha’s first and last year as a debater in Team Qatar, as she graduated from high school, but it will certainly not be the last chapter of her story in the world of debating. Her achievement is only the beginning of a new chapter of success and brilliance for the Team Qatar debaters. From this moment forward, every new cohort that joins Team Qatar training in English will know that Wadha and her team in the summer of 2021 have paved the way for them and the future in front of them is full of hope and ambition, coupled with determination and persistence.