European champion debaters Dylan McCarthy and Jack Palmer have been ranked fifth out of over 250 teams at the the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) which concluded in Madrid yesterday.
The team from the University Philosophical Society (the Phil) reached the quarterfinals stage of the competition, where they were beaten by teams from Princeton University and the University of Sydney, but ranked fifth on points based on their performance throughout the competition.
McCarthy was ranked 10th best speaker at the competition, while Palmer placed 20th, based on individual speaker points.
Speaking to Trinity News, Palmer said that he was “very thankful” for the support they had received from the Phil, College, and the Central Societies’ Committee (CSC) in reaching this point.
“I won’t pretend that I’m not disappointed in this last worlds that we didn’t make it further, but you can’t control everything.”
In July, McCarthy and Palmer advanced to the semifinals of the previous world championship, where they were ranked 17th overall based on points.
In August, the pair became the first team from Trinity to win the European Universities Debating Championship (EUDC), the first major international competition to be hosted fully in-person since before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Palmer highlighted the difference this made: “The real difference between this worlds and the last was the entire competition being in person. On top of the energy which made each debate infinitely more enjoyable, it was great to meet old friends and new ones in Madrid.”
While the world championship is traditionally held between December and January, it was delayed until summer in 2021 and 2022 as a result of the pandemic, and held online.
“At the very top level debating often involves going against postgraduate students from the top universities around the world, or discussing very complex topics within a field you may not study and your opponents might. I don’t mention these things as an excuse, rather to show the value in debating.”
Palmer added: “Learning how to come up on top when the odds are against you often involves coming up with unique strategies and innovations. It can be a fascinating challenge, but is also a crucial crucial skill. Unfortunately, this time we weren’t quite able to pull it off, but I’m proud to have come so close.”
David Africa and Tobi Leung from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines were crowned world champions after winning the Grand Final of the competition. They were ranked third overall on team points, with a team from Tel Aviv University ranking second, and the University of Sofia first.
Two other teams from the Phil took part in WUDC this week, with three teams from the College Historical Society (the Hist) also competing.
WUDC 2024 is scheduled to take place in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam next December.
This article was updated on 7 January 2022 to include comment from Jack Palmer.