Cambridge Battle Heat to Reach Debate Semis
Cambridge sent four teams to the World Universities Debating Championships last week, to compete for the title of World’s Best Team in Botswana
Cambridge sent four teams to the World Universities Debating Championships last week, to compete for the title of World’s Best Team in Botswana, returning yesterday to home soil.
In an exceptional display, three teams made it to the out-rounds, with Cambridge B reaching the quarter finals, and the A team making the semis, narrowly beaten to the final by a team from Sydney.
The tournament spanned ten days at an average temperature of 27 degrees, with 316 teams competing in what is conclusively the jewel in the debate season crown. The exotic location was the result of an extensive bidding process from countries all over the world, voted on by the university delegates, and featured optional safari courses and cheetah petting. If you were wondering where the Union Membership fee goes, it’s flights to Africa, and, next year, Manila Thailand.
While some had everything to play for, and faced stress-induced panic attacks in the wee hours of the morning, for most the tournament was a holiday of debauched proportions, with one participant commenting: “I’ve never been in a situation before where I’ve had more condoms than toilet paper.”
Most impressively, Cambridge A was a partnership of unprecedented disparity: our very own legendary Doug Cohran (6th best speaker in the world) competed with fresher Maria English, a former World’s Schools Debating Captain for New Zealand. By all accounts the pair worked in utter harmony, though their success was closely scrutinised.
“There was a lot of pressure on the team to do well, especially since this was Doug’s last shot at the World’s title.” observed one participant. “Everyone was stunned by their performance though, despite having only spoken together for a few months.”
Speaking to The Tab, Maria called it “an incredible experience speaking for Cambridge A,” and called Doug “an incredible partner.”. She said missing out on the final was “disappointing”, but that their success “was a credit to our teamwork and the amazing support we received from the rest of the Cambridge contingent.”
Finalist Hugh Burns, who won Cambridge’s knock-out semi from Oxford A said their mistake was that “Doug and Maria were genuinely nice people; thankfully not a problem Oxford A suffers.”
You can watch the video of the debate here – Semi Final 2, and Cambridge at 09.35.