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The OUDS first team was pipped at the post by Victoria University One in the grand final of the Joynt Scroll debating tournament, held in Auckland.
The loss came after an impressive run, which included beating in earlier rounds Victoria University One and University of Auckland One, both of which had speakers who were ranked in the top 10 in the world.
OUDS president Paul Hunt, who was part of the team, said the result boded well for the World Universities Debating Championship in Berlin, which starts on Boxing Day and finishes on January 4.
"Coming second in Joynt Scroll's suggests we should definitely be aiming to finish within the top 15 teams in the world," Mr Hunt said,Beating Victoria in the round robin was particularly impressive, as the university was considered to be among the "big dogs" of the debating world, along with Oxford University and the University of Sydney.
OUDS had already started raising funds to take two team of four to the world championships, but was looking for a major sponsor from Dunedin law firms.
In the last world championships, the University of Otago was ranked 24th.