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Thursday 13 October 2022 8:57am

Debating image
Otago University Debating Society.

Otago's success at the 2022 Officer's Cup Tournament is not up for debate.

The University hosted the annual impromptu debating tournament recently and having it on campus allowed eight teams to represent Otago.

Impromptu debate is a debating format that is unique to New Zealand, and involves teams of two giving a six-minute long speech with three-minute replies. Teams are given five minutes to prepare their speeches once they have been assigned a topic.

Debating team duo “Otago 1”, made up of undergraduate Georgia Barclay and alumnus Joe Garry, came runner up in what has been described by Otago University Debating Society (OUDS) president Anna Roberts as “a very close final against Auckland”.

Georgia placed third in the best New Zealand speaker category and Joe placed fifth.

Two first-year representatives from Otago, Jules Randerson and Tony Huang, also showcased their talent as debaters, taking home first and second place in the New Zealand novice speaker categories.

Current students were not the only Otago representatives to be recognised for their flair at the Officer's Cup. Alumni Grace Belworthy, Josh Mackay and Dushanka Govender were also appointed to highly-coveted positions on the adjudication core, overseeing deciding the topics debated and being responsible for the whole tournament.

These alumni, joined by Emily Partridge, were also selected to judge the semi-finals and finals of the tournament.

The success of the Officer's Cup followed on the heels of a South Island Novice Tournament win against the University of Canterbury last month.

Otago also participated in the 2021 World University Debating Competition, which was delayed until this year due to COVID-19.

Otago sent one team who performed well, finishing with two firsts, four seconds, one third and two fourths, narrowly missing out on the out rounds. This is especially impressive given these students were debating overnight to match the Serbia time zone.

Leading into the new year, OUDS has several international events on the horizon. Otago is sending three teams to Madrid over the University holidays to compete in person in the World universities debating competition.

In November it will also send teams to compete in the Australasian 3v3 tournament online and Anna says the teams “are all working very hard in preparation for these tournaments”.

OUDS also excitedly anticipates the arrival of their incoming president Jaiden Tucker, replacing Anna as she graduates in December.

Law student Jaiden was the winner of the national 3v3 Joynt Scroll Competition.

“I am confident that the society is in very good hands,” Anna says.

Kōrero by Keilah Fox

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