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Debaters are best in the world

A colossal achievement" is how the news was described when a team of Scottish pupils became debating champions of the world this week.

The group of five saw off competition in the knock-on rounds from the USA, Hong Kong and England. On Wednesday, it was announced that, in a "close but clear" debate on nuclear non- proliferation, they had beaten Singapore to win the World Schools Debating Championship, held in Seoul, South Korea.

Forty nations battle it out each year in "a gruelling series of debates". The Scottish team this year was Stuart Cullen and Callum Jones (George Heriot's School, Edinburgh), Neil Dewar (High School of Dundee), Netan Dogra (Grove Academy, Dundee) and Joanna Farmer (Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen).

John Duncan, director of the English-Speaking Union in Scotland, which promotes debating in Scottish schools, commented: "The five members of the team and the two coaches have trained incredibly hard for this over the past 10 months. The standard of debate at the championships is the best you can get, so to become world champions is a colossal achievement."

He added: "Their success shows how strong Scottish debating is at the moment, and we are very proud to be associated with the team."

The pupils were coached by two former championship debaters, George Molyneaux, fellow of All Souls, Oxford, and Alex Just, president of the Oxford Union.

Scottish school teams have performed strongly throughout the 16-year history of the championships, having won twice and been runners-up on a number of occasions. This is the first time since 2001 they have reached the final.

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