China Daily deputy editor in chief Liu Weiling (right) and Zhejiang University Vice-Lianzhen (left) pose with Chinese winners of the 21st century Cup on Wednesday in the province of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. LI Jiankun / IN CHINA DAILY

young people around the world had been eager to attend international speaking competition as a way to get to the other after the isolation caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, united by "gather online" to take part in the China Daily 21st Century Cup International English Speaking Competition that ended on Wednesday.

The competition started in September last year and the final is scheduled to be held in April, but had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

About 400 finalists, from preschool to young professionals, they competed on stage in Guangzhou Baiyun International Convention Center in Guangdong Province this week. Dozens of contestants from Hong Kong, Macao and foreign countries participated in the competition via videoconference because of quarantine requirements to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Wang Zongnan, Communications University of China, said that his dream was shattered when he was told in the spring that the end of the race was delayed.

"I expected to win a large number of fans attending this competition, make a group of good friends, and if I was lucky enough to find a girlfriend," said finalist in the section of the university , which participated in the event in person.

Attend national English speaking competition was a dream for many young public speakers, said Wang Guan, one CGTN host and a member of the panel of judges. Many of the participants had been preparing for the competition for a year, Wang said, and was "a good reward" for them that the contest was held successfully.

Wu Bojin, Zhejiang University, was the first second in the competition Speaking belt and the way Young English. At the end of Tuesday, participants from six countries have logged on to an online platform and gave speeches to a panel of judges sitting in a conference room in Guangzhou.

Wu said it was a pity that the speakers could not receive an immediate response from the public, but being able to share happy enough done. Competition "It makes people realize that life is back on track," he added.

Samim contestant Suraj Afghanistan praised the competition for sending a positive message. "We are miles away, but we have the same goals," he said. "It has also given me the lesson that nothing is impossible in this world."

The pandemic forced competitors not only online, but it also meant some of them had to change the way they deliver their speeches.

Wu Ziyue, Macao University of Science and Technology, said she trained herself to focus on a camera instead of a large crowd.

"even though he was not used to that at first, it was still a very special experience for me," he said.

When asked what was removed from the competition, citing two issues matter to finalists- 'No man is an island "and" Seize the day ".

"public speaking events, such as the 21 Cup century highlight the importance of the connection, expression and communication," he said.

Wu Qian contributed to this story.

Guangdong  Guangzhou  Zhejiang 

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