The Otago University Debating Society has announced
itself as a force to be reckoned with after its top team made
the top four of this year's World Universities Debating
Championship in Berlin yesterday (NZ time).
Debating society president Paul Hunt, who was competing in
Berlin as part of the Otago C team, said having a team make
it to the grand final of the prestigious tournament was by
far and away its best result at a world championships.
Otago A, made up of Alec Dawson and Kieran James Bunn,
eventually lost the grand final - which was made up of four
teams - to Monash B, but beat some of the more fancied teams,
including Oxford A, on their way to the top four.
Mr Hunt said making the top four out of about 400 teams would
put the society on the map when it came to future
''When we came to tournaments in the past, we were thought of
as one of the minor institutions, but now we are really a
serious outfit,'' he said.
Making the grand final capped off what was already a
successful world championships for the society, with all
three of its teams ''breaking'' into the final 48.
''We broke more teams than Oxford, which only broke two
The society was not considered a favourite before the
competition, with ''debating blogs'' describing their success
as the ''Cinderella story of the tournament''.
In the grand final, Otago A argued that religious
organisations should not be able to remove people because of
In the quarterfinal, where they knocked out two of the teams
favoured to win the tournament, they argued that all forms of
advertising should be banned.
''They ran quite an extreme but sophisticated case in that
debate, which really took a lot of the favourites by
surprise,'' he said.
Mr Hunt said the society wanted to thank its sponsor,
Gallaway Cook Allan, which helped ensure they could bring
three teams to the championships.