The University of Sydney Union’s debating team returned from their 2011 Australasian Debating Championships (Australs) campaign in Korea upbeat from a strong showing, despite missing out on the Grand Final.
The USU’s Eleanor Jones produced a brilliant individual performance to take out Best Speaker honours of the tournament, which was ultimately won by the defending champions from New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington.
It was a highly competitive tournament held in the South Korean capital of Seoul from 7 to 14 July. The USU sent a total of seven teams and six adjudicators and while all teams qualified for the finals, an institutional cap meant only four could progress.
USU 1 was the most successful, progressing to the semi-finals, before being narrowly defeated by the National University of Singapore. USU 2 were eliminated in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Victoria University, while USU 3 and USU 5 faced off in the octo-finals, USU 5 was then defeated by Monash University in the quarters. Meanwhile, fellow USU team members Daniel Swain and Robert Chiarella joined Jones in the top ten speaker rankings, in third and sixth respectively.
On the adjudication front, four USU adjudicators qualified for the final rounds, while Steve Hind and Steph Stojanovic adjudicated the Grand Final.
Although Grand Final success eluded the team, the USU Debates Director Julia Baine applauded the team’s efforts in the face of a brilliant showing from the international teams Baine congratulated the USU’s speakers, and said the USU’s debater development program was delivering results – pointing out that since Elle Jones, the last USU debater to be declared Australs Best Speaker was Naomi Oreb in 2008, who in fact mentored Jones when she was a novice.
The team will now enjoy a deserved break before heading into Semester 2, where British Parliamentary-style tournaments become the focus.