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Friday, May 30, 2014

Sriram Hathwar & Ansun Sujoe - co-champions of Scripps Spell Bee

I have been posting on this year after year … and some remain constant in them… especially the winners being Indians ! ~ It is a contest conducted with the purpose of helping the students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives ~ it is “Spell Bee”  and this year history repeated itself  with a slight difference.  A spelling bee is a competition where contestants, usually children, are asked to spell English words.   The competition in US is now sponsored and fun by E.W. Scripps Company. 

Last year i.e., in 2013, it was Arvind Mahankali from New York scripting history by winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the year 2013, becoming the sixth Indian-American to win the title in a row. “The words were extremely hard. It means that I am retiring in a good mood,” Arvind said after winning the prestigious national championship. Arvind had finished ninth in 2010 and third place in both 2011 and 2012.  In 2012  it was 14 year old  Snigdha Nandipati, who  spelled “guetapens” to win.  In 2011, it was Sukanya Roy who correctly spelt the tongue-twister ''cymotrichous'' to be crowned the new champion.

Now to the present ~ for  the first time in 52 years, two spellers were declared co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday. Indian-Americans Sriram Hathwar of New York and Ansun Sujoe of Texas shared the title after a riveting final-round duel in which they nearly exhausted the 25 designated championship words. After they spelled a dozen words correctly in a row, Seventh-grader Ansun Sujoe, 13, and eighth-grader Sriram Hathwar, 14, both were crowned the champion.  The two went  through the grill for several rounds and in the end neither blinked. The competition ended after Ansun correctly spelled "feuilleton" and the word list was exhausted. They were declared co-champions. Earlier, 14-year-old Sriram opened the door to an upset by 13-year-old Ansun after he misspelled “corpsbruder,” a close comrade. But Ansun was unable to take the title because he got “antegropelos,” which means waterproof leggings, wrong.

"I think we both know the competition is against the dictionary not against each other. I'm happy to share this trophy with him," Sriram said on ESPN after the event. Gokul Venkatachalam of Chesterfield, Missouri, finished third, and Ashwin Veeramani of North Royalton, Ohio, was fourth. This year too – the champions are Indian-American. The past eight winners and 13 of the past 17 have been of Indian descent, a run that began in 1999 after Nupur Lala's victory, which was later featured in the documentary "Spellbound."

The declaration of co-champions came after round 22, when Hathwar spelled “stichomythia,” which is defined as “dialogue especially of altercation or dispute delivered in alternating lines.” Sujoe responded by correctly spelling the word "feuilleton,” which is defined as “a part of a European newspaper or  magazine devoted to material designed to entertain the general reader.” Rich Boehne, chairman, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company, declared Hathwar and Sujoe co-champions and awarded them the engraved Scripps National Spelling Bee championship trophy after round 22. This is the first time since 1962 – and the fourth time overall – that co-champions have been declared at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

According to the website of the Organisers, there were 281 spellers from the 50 U.S. states, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe; also, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea. Speller 218 Hussain Godhrawala, of Barnwell, South Carolina, was the youngest speller in the competition at age 8. In the group competition it was 51% girls and 49% boys. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.

The E.W. Scripps Company ( serves audiences and businesses through a growing portfolio of television, print and digital media brands. After its acquisition of two Granite Broadcasting stations closes, Scripps will own 21 local television stations as well as daily newspapers in 13 markets across the United States.  Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and its addenda section, copyright 2002, Merriam-Webster, (Webster’s Third) is the final authority and sole source for the spelling of words; the primary source used to craft the pronunciations, definitions, and language origins for the Bee; and the only printed authority consulted by officials, as well as the sole source used during the Bee to verify the information in our prepared lists.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

30th May 2014.

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