Tel Aviv University Sibling Team Wins World Debating Championship Wednesday, February 22, 2012
TAU student brothers capture top prize at finals in the Philippines
Brothers Sella, left, and Omer Nevo after clinching the crown. Photo: Ha'aretz.
Arguments around the dinner table have certainly paid off for two Israeli siblings.
Last month, brothers — and Tel Aviv University students — Omer and Sella Nevo won the gold medal in the World Debating Championships in the English as a Second Language Category. The two mathematics and computer science students beat out teams from Malaysia, Germany, and the Netherlands. They were also named the best ESL speakers of the competition, and broke the record for most points collected in the preliminary rounds.
This is the third year in a row that an Israeli team has won the title, and the Nevo brothers are the second TAU team in the last three years to win. In 2009, Yoni Cohen-Idov, now the coach of the TAU team, and his partner Uri Merhav were the ESL champions.
Cohen-Idov says that participation in these world-wide debating competitions goes a long way to fostering international understanding. "As an Israeli, you're used to getting wary looks, to seeing hostility," he explained to Ha'aretz. "Winning in a sport that's all about dialogue is a phenomenal sensation, because we feel we represent more than ourselves or our institution. We feel we show the world another side of Israel — a cultured, witty, amiable, and peaceful side."