The winding up of an essay competition with the handover has upset some of this year's top participants. The Royal Commonwealth Society Essay Competition will end after 50 years. Canadian-born Liu Chantal Yunn, who won this year's first prize in Class A, said: 'As my essay was first judged by local academics and then those in Britain, it was very challenging.' Chantal received a $2,000 book token. She said the chance for international assessment would disappear with the end of the competition. The contest was a chance to improve writing skills and sparked interest in international affairs through the researching of essays, she said. 'It was a good test of students' analytical ability,' said Chantal, who is in Form Six at Diocesan Girls' School. She plans to study journalism in the United States. Form Six colleague Wadhwani Chitra, who was second, said: 'It will be a great loss. The Education Department should continue to hold the competition even after 1997.' She said it was a good opportunity to develop writing skills. 'Judges expect more as they just choose a few essays out of 4,500. Writing for the competition involves lots of analytical thinking. It is not simply copying from a few books,' she said. Kwan Ting-fai, deputy director at the Education Department, said: 'The competition aroused students' interest in global issues. It improved students' literacy skills and understanding of the world.' Their were 258 Hong Kong participants from 40 schools, in four age groups. The first three in each class were awarded book coupons, worth from $750 to $2,000, by Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. The contest, sponsored by the society and chamber of commerce, is organised by the Education Department.