Indian-Americans Aim to Maintain Dominance in U.S. Spelling Bee

Wednesday, 29 May 2013, 10:06 Hrs
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Washington: Nearly 50 Indian-Americans will vie to maintain their dominance in the prestigious National Spelling Bee competition in the US, with 8-year-old Tara Singh from the community being the youngest speller in this year's edition.

Indian-origin youths have dominated the annual spelling bee composition since 2008.

This year the three-day competition beginning today at the Gaylord National Resort near Washington will see 281 spellers from the 50 US states, as well as from the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.

The spellers range in age from 8 to 14 years old, but 89 per cent are between the ages of 12 and 14 years old.

Tara of Louisville is the youngest speller in this year's competition at age 8, the organisers said. Tara is currently learning Latin and Greek at school and is studying Hindi at home.

Two spellers Vanya Shivashankar and Ashwin Veeramani have siblings who have previously won the Scripps National Spelling Bee, they said, adding that 116 spellers speak more than one language, including Hindi.

Indian-origin people remain unchallenged in the Scripps National Spelling Bee since 2008, with Sameer Mishra winning it in 2008, Laodicean Kavya Shivashankar (2009), Anamika Veeramani (2010), Sukanya Roy (2011) and Snigdha Nandipati (2012).

For the first time in the 86-year history of the National Spelling Bee, the evaluation of vocabulary knowledge will be formally incorporated as an element of the competition, the organisers said.

"This is a significant change in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but also a natural one," said Paige Kimble, director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

"It represents a deepening of the Bee's commitment to its purpose: to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives."

Earlier this month, 12-year-old Indian-American Sathwik Karnik won the National Geographic Bee contest in the US.

In 2008, Akshay Rajagopal from the community won the geographic bee contest while the 2012 edition was won by Rahul Nagvekar.

Source: PTI
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