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NZ Excels At World Debating Champs

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**New Zealand ranked 1st after preliminary rounds at World Debating Champs**

The Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools' Debating Team lies in first place after the initial eight preliminary rounds of the World Schools' Debating Championships, currently happening in Washington D.C.

The New Zealand team won their first eight preliminary debates, including victories over last year's champions Scotland, and last year's runners-up, Singapore. Each debate, bar one, was won unanimously, meaning they narrowly edged out South Africa for the top spot going into the knock-out rounds.

Christopher Bishop of the NZ Schools Debating Council said it is the first time since 2002 that New Zealand has won every preliminary round debate, and the first time in at least a decade that New Zealand has been ranked first after the preliminary rounds. New Zealand last won the prestigious World Championships in 1995.

"We're extremely pleased and excited", said Mr Bishop. "This is one of the best teams that we've sent away to the World Champs, and we hope they can win the tournament again for New Zealand", he commented.

The competition now moves to a knock-out phase, with the first ranked team facing the sixteenth in the octo-finals. New Zealand will debate the Netherlands in their octo-final on Friday 9 August at 10am. (2am on Saturday morning, NZ time).

If New Zealand wins that debate they will debate either Australia or Ireland in the quarter-finals.

The five person Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools' Debating Team was selected at the national finals of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools' Debating Championships held in May this year. The team comprises Maria English (Captain, Samuel Marsden Collegiate), Holly Jenkins (Sacred Heart College), Jennifer Savage (Wanganui Collegiate), Tom Chen (Hillcrest High School) and Ben Kornfeld (King's College). The team is being coached by Julia Fetherston (an Australian law student and champion student debater) and Kevin Moar (a policy analyst at the Ministry of Health).

The World Schools' Debating Championships, a global competition for high school debaters, has been held each year since 1988. This year's tournament involves 39 teams, including England, Wales, Scotland, India, Pakistan, the USA, South Africa, South Korea, and Japan. New Zealand has won the tournament three times since 1988 (in 1991, 1992, and 1995) and hosted the competition in 1994.

Topics debated at this year's Championships include "That we should use military intervention to deliver emergency aid in humanitarian crises" and "That we should ban strikes by those working in essential state services."

ENDS


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