Last weekend, on April 26 and 27, senior Salim Damerdji competed at the 42nd annual Tournament of Champions, where, out of a pool of 80 debaters, he proceeded into the Lincoln-Douglas elimination rounds after going 5-2 in preliminaries.
“I dropped earlier than I had hoped,” Salim said. “I got eliminated in the first out round by someone who was a lower seed than me, which was disappointing. That person was the 22nd seed and I was the 11th seed so I really should have won that.”
The Tournament of Champions is a national, invitational debate competition held at the University of Kentucky. Students qualify for the tournament by earning “bids” based on their achievement during the regular competitive season at national and regional tournaments.
“The reason to go to tournaments during the year is to qualify for the Tournament of Champions and the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) championships,” Salim said. “Your entire career is evaluated by how well you do at the Tournament of Champions. It’s a way to evaluate your entire year. It’s the [ultimate] indicator of how good you are as a debater.”
In spite of his disappointment with his performance at the Tournament of Champions, Salim hopes to continue his debate career and stay involved with the Mountain View Los Altos debate team.
“I am still interested in being a part of the high school debate community since our team still has some amazing sophomores and freshmen,” Salim said. “I’m positive that we have a really strong future and I want to work with them a lot.”