Debaters hope success will encourage others to join

Otago University Debating Society members Kieran Bunn (left) and Alec Dawson are still 'buzzing' after making the top four in the world universities debating championship last month. Photo by Peter McIntosh.The Otago University Debating Society hopes the success of beating some of the world's best at the equivalent of the debating ''world cup'' last month will help attract new people to the society this year.

Kieran Bunn (20) and Alec Dawson (22) both said they were still ''buzzing'' after finishing in the top four of the world universities debating championship in Berlin last month.

Mr Bunn said he hoped the success of the whole society - the B team also made the finals - at the world championship would result in more first years and other returning students joining the team this year.

The A team's success had also opened other doors for the pair, who had been invited to New York to compete at the HWS round robin at Easter, where team members will again get the opportunity to test their debating skills against the best in the world.

Mr Dawson said it also gave the university's reputation as a debating powerhouse a massive boost.

''Before this tournament, no-one had really heard of Otago and now other universities that are in debating will know who we are in debating and respect us.

''The fact that you have a bit of a name and a reputation can actually help in these tournaments,'' he said.

He said neither he nor Mr Bunn had expected to make it as far as they did in the tournament.

''It was pretty surreal, actually. We got to the point where we had done so much better than we expected to.''

Both attributed their success to ''good prep'' and working well together as a team.