Singaporean lawyer wins international public speaking championship

Lawyer Darren Tay beat nine other orators to take the top spot at the annual World Championship of Public Speaking in Washington, DC on Saturday (Aug 20).
Lawyer Darren Tay beat nine other orators to take the top spot at the annual World Championship of Public Speaking in Washington, DC on Saturday (Aug 20).PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL

A 27-year-old lawyer became the first Singaporean to win the World Championship of Public Speaking in Washington, DC on Saturday (Aug 20).

Mr Darren Tay, a regular member of Punggol Park Community Centre Toastmasters Club, beat out nine other orators to take the top spot at the annual public speaking competition.

According to Toastmasters International District 80, which manages clubs in Singapore, he is the second Singaporean representative to have made it to the competition's final round. Last year, Mr Manoj Vasudevan clinched third place.


Mr Darren Tay poses with his trophy. PHOTO: TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL

The World Championship of Public Speaking has been held by Toastmasters International since 1938, with a two-year break during World War II.

Originally an offshoot of the Young Men's Christian Association, Toastmasters International is a global network of clubs that promotes public speaking, and has more than 345,000 members across 142 countries.

In order to qualify for the World Championship of Public Speaking, club representatives must first compete and win at the local level.

Semi-finals were held on Thursday in Washington, DC to determine the 10 finalists.

The championship was rounded off with finalists delivering speeches of between five and seven minutes in front of a panel of judges.

Toastmasters International District 80 wrote in a Facebook post: "Thank you Darren and the team of District 80, for flying the red and white flag of Singapore high and with distinction. May your victory inspire the lives of many aspiring District 80 speakers in the future and beyond."

A graduate of the National University of Singapore law faculty, Mr Tay has been involved in public-speaking contests since he was a teenager, and also works as a public-speaking coach.

He is scheduled to arrive in Singapore on Tuesday morning.