Athens WUDC 1998

Athens 1998 Final
Deree College was the first mainland European host, billing the event as "Debating coming home". It was also the biggest WUDC till then and the first time it took place in a non- English speaking country. Gray's Inn A (Neil Sheldon and Andy George) won the competition, defeating Western Ontario A (Brent Patterson and David Orr), Oxford] (Dom Hughes and ben Phillips) and Edinburgh University (Colm O'Cinneide and Ben Foss) in the final. Neill Sheldon also took the top speaker award. The top-breaking team after nine rounds was from Ottawa Law A (Casey Halladay and Cory MacDonald). The championships were also saw a change in voting rights on the Council which, loosened the grip of the charter nations and rewarded countries who sent more teams. The council also voted to set up a World Debating Committee to work on issues between championships.

There were problems with delays and judges continually judging at the same level (i.e. the top 3 judges would be in the top room and the bottom 3 ranked judges always judged the bottom room). This led to frustration among some judges seeing a steady stream of weak teams (and frustrated some teams seeing a constant stream of weak judges), culminating in a large no-show from bottom-ranked judges at a delayed round 9. As a result of this, the concept of top ranked "chair" judges in every room and rotating judges around the tab became common.

Athens had ESL semi-finals for the first time to allow the top 8 ESL teams break. Athens were the first championships to publish results during the competition. While this did not meet the requirements of Council set in Stellenbosch (for which Athens were criticized), it was the first time teams had a clear picture of how they were performing at the end of each day. Additionally, the tournament featured social events for every night that, along with the Athenian festive atmosphere and the easy going Greek character, made the Athens Worlds quite a memorable event.

This History of the World Debating Championships comes in 3 parts. From 1976 to 1990 it is taken almost word for word from the 1991 Toronto WUDC Tournament booklet. Who wrote it isn't known but it was provided by Randal Horobik. At the start of the section on Worlds in 1981 is an extract from an e-mail by Clark McGinn, Convenor of Debates, GU Union 1980 -81 and 1981 and Convenor of the First World Debating Competition, 1981. The history since 1991 has been compiled initially by Colm Flynn and edited by many contributors to Wikipedia. Unfortunately Wikipedia deleted the history due to copyright concerns so we are back here. Hopefully anyone who contributed to the Wiki article before it was deleted will be happy to see their work preserved here.
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