With the objective of improving students’ proficiency in the English language, Methodist Girls’ School (MGS) Ipoh held the country’s first International English Language Academic Heptathlon beginning Thursday, July 21 till Saturday, July 23.

Thirty five schools from all over the country took part, including international schools from the Philippines, India and Brunei. Their ages ranged from 13 to 18.

There were seven categories altogether namely, creative writing, grammar, vocabulary, creative poetry, creative storytelling, public speaking and debate. MGS collected RM250 from every participating team and gave a 50-percent discount for teams who could not afford the full fee.

A panel of 15 adjudicators judged the event. Among them were Puteri Eleni, Pak Peter, Melizarani T. Selva, Kamini Ramachandran and Verena Tay, to name a few.

“Initially we had schools from Vietnam and Indonesia on the list. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it and be with us today,” said event coordinator, Mohana Ram Murugiah.

“We took one whole year to organise this. I was so worried and had sleepless nights. I’m truly blessed everything went smoothly,” he added.

On the final day SMJK Sam Tet, Ipoh took on SM Sains Alam Shah in the debate challenge. Sam Tet won and was crowned the overall champion. One of its speakers was adjudged the best debater.

The debating topic was, “This House Believes that Major Film and TV Award Shows should Abolish Award Categories that are separated by Gender”.

“It’s unbelievable. We came here without expecting much and got a bit lucky here and there. They’re all brilliant speakers and we were just fortunate,” Foo Yu Cheng said and the entire team agreed.

There were five in the winning Sam Tet team. They were Alderich Wong, James Lau, Chan Guan Zhou, Lai Zhong Xun and Foo himself, accompanied by their teacher, Parimala Rajaratnam.

“I wish this event could be held annually but the process takes one whole year. I’m thankful for the generosity of the sponsors. We wouldn’t have made it without them. Even after raising the bar, the students could do it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to host this again,” said Mohana.

Khaleeja