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Tournament of Champions, Opportunity of a Lifetime for Ho Doanh Doanh (Suri)

The chance to compete in the prestigious Tournament of Champions has been a dream come true for AIS Saigon’s HO Doanh Doanh (Suri).

Tournament of Champions, Opportunity of a Lifetime for Ho Doanh Doanh (Suri)

Yale University’s Tournament of Champions has provided the experience of a lifetime for HO Doanh Doanh (Suri). Not only did she gain an insight into one of the world’s greatest universities, but she also brought home an impressive haul of medals.

International competition, global recognition
She may only be in Year 11, but AIS Saigon student Suri Ho is already making her mark on the global stage. After acing it in the Global Round in Seoul, Suri recently jetsetted her way to New Haven, in the United States, where she went head to head with some of the world’s highest achievers in Yale University’s Tournament of Champions. Part of the esteemed World Scholar’s Cup (WSC) programme, this nail-biting event is a calendar highlight – and for Suri it was the ideal opportunity to put her academic prowess to the test.

“This was my first year competing in WSC and my expectations of qualifying were low,” says Suri.  “However, once the hosts started announcing the qualifying teams, I remember how fast my heart was beating because I really wanted to continue competing alongside my teammates. I felt immediate relief once I saw my team number displayed on the screen.”

Tournament of Champions, Opportunity of a Lifetime for Ho Doanh Doanh (Suri)

A remarkable achievement
Despite her inexperience, Suri excelled, taking out a gold medal in the Individual Writing competition (placing 150 out of 2700), and silver medals for the Scholars’ Bowl and Team Writing events. But these impressive accolades weren’t her greatest highlights – the camaraderie trumped all.

“Two weeks before the tournament, WSC added the ‘Booster Pack’ which contained around 600 pages worth of new information that would be included in the competition. I felt overwhelmed looking at the pile of new material but my teammates helped me to navigate the studying process. All we did in the days before the competition was study in our hotel rooms but it was quite enjoyable because we were there for each other. I learned to appreciate the people that I had around me more, and it made me realise how wholesome human interaction can be. Seeing scholars from all over the world come together and unite as one big community was truly mesmerizing.”

Forever friends
Getting up close and personal with an alpaca called ‘Painted Warrior’ (WSC’s official mascot) and
reuniting with an Indonesian friend Suri met during the Global Rounds created unforgettable memories.

“My Indonesian friend and I met to exchange cultural gifts before saying our last goodbyes to each other. It was a bittersweet moment because we managed to understand each other and share so many moments as two different people from two very different places. Saying goodbye to the friends I made during the journey was hard, but I will forever be thankful to the World Scholar’s Cup because the competition allowed me to meet such wonderful people.”

A taste of student life
Of course the chance to immerse herself in campus life at Yale was the icing on the cake.

“The venues for the Tournament of Champions mainly revolved around Yale University so I had many chances to feel what it was like being on campus. Yale students let the scavenger hunt groups and they were passionate about giving tours around the university. My group leader got into Yale because she used to compete in WSC and she enjoyed the experience so much she set her sights on becoming a Yale student. Hearing her story was very inspiring and at that moment I decided to start thinking more about what I want to do with my life.”

Bright future ahead
Thanks to all Suri experienced at the Tournament of Champions, future studies at Yale are definitely a possibility.

“In the future, I intend to keep on sharpening my academics while also participating in other extracurricular events in order to help me obtain scholarships for universities. Currently, I have yet to decide on my dream university. That being said, Yale is an excellent goal that would motivate me to become a better student.”

Top tournament tips
For students aspiring to excel in academic competitions like the Tournament of Champions, Suri has this advice: “Just have fun and don’t stress too much! Of course, when it comes to academic competitions, the awards and achievements are important, but as you grow older you will yearn more for the memories that you created at these events. Those are what’s really important.”