Kerala sisters from Australia recite national anthems of 193 countries, win hearts, world record


Express News Service

ALAPPUZHA: Standing at the St John’s Cathedral in Australia’s Brisbane on World Peace Day (September 21), Teresa, 21, and Augnes, 18, set a world record. The sisters, hailing from Thycattussery village of Cherthala taluk in Kerala, entered the Australian Book of Records and won a certificate from the Universal Records Forum by performing an incredible feat — they recited the national anthems of 193 countries, one after another, all from memory.  

The performance was evaluated by a seven-member jury including Claire Moore, president of United Nations Association of Australia, Queensland, which organised the event, and Clem Campbell, former president of the association.  According to Teresa, the achievement was a result of years of hard work. “My sister and I were in Classes 3 and 6 respectively when we first started to learn the national anthems of different countries. I was about 11 then,” she recalled. 

The duo’s father Joy K Mathew had been a huge inspiration in their endeavour, she said. “Our father took care to find the correct verses of each country’s anthem. He even contacted with various countries’ embassies for this. He also scoured the internet to identify teachers from each of these countries, who helped us with language and pronunciation,” Teresa told TNIE over phone from Brisbane. 

The youngsters took six hours to complete their performance in Brisbane on Tuesday. “We were only allowed an interval of 20 minutes,” said Teresa, a third-year graduate student in criminology and psychology at Griffith University, Queensland. Augnes is a Grade 12 student at the Calamvale Community College. 

Until 13 years ago, Joy was a part of the Malayalam film industry in Kerala. In between, he also spent a few years in Kuwait, where Teresa studied till Class 3. After they returned to Thycattussery, Teresa continued her studies at St Mary of Leuca English Medium School. Augnes too studied till Class 3 here, before Joy shifted to Australia with his family in 2008. His wife Jaquiline Joy is a nurse at the Clinter Park Nursing Home.   

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