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Indian Americans dominate US National Spelling Bee as championship regained by Indian-origin teen

Indian Americans have monopolised the contest from 2008 to 2018, but in 2019 a non-Indian girl was among the eight co-winners. The other seven were of Indian origin.

Arul Louis Jun 03, 2022
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Harini Logan, who won the 2022 National Spelling Bee championship in Washington on Thursday, June 6, 2022. (Photo: Spelling Bee)  The three finalists the 2022 National Spelling Bee championship in Washington on Thursday, June 6, 2022, from left, Vikram Raju, the runner-up, Vihan Sibal, who finished third, and Harini Logan, the winner. (Photo: Spelling Bee)

An Indian-origin girl has won the National Spelling Bee championship regaining the title for the community after two breaks in the streak of victories going back to 2008. Indian American children on the second and third positions as well. Children of Indian origin have dominated the contest, which tests not only the rote memorisation of spellings but also the knowledge of the origin of words and their structure and usage. Since Balu Natarajan won it in 1985, 20 Indian-origin children have won it.

Of the 14 finalists who survived three days of gruelling contests in Washington, 11 were of Indian origin.

Harini Logan was declared the champion beating out 234 children from around the US and abroad who had won local contests, and she gets a prize package of $52,500. The runner up was Vikram Raju, who gets $25,000, and Vihan Sibal came in third, winning $15,000.

Logan, who is 14, is an eighth-grade student at a Montessori school in Austin, Texas.

Indian Americans have monopolised the contest from 2008 to 2018, but in 2019 a non-Indian girl was among the eight co-winners. The other seven were of Indian origin.

There was no contest in 2020 because of the Covid pandemic and an African American girl won when it resumed last year.

The final elimination round this year had the children select the correct meaning of words from a list of choices, rather than just spell words.

Logan was initially knocked out in this round but was reinstated when the judges ruled that her answer was also correct.  

She and Raju duelled for several rounds in which both either misspelt the words or got them right.

To break the deadlock they went into a “spell-off” in which they had to rapidly spell correctly as many words as possible within 90 seconds.

Logan defeated Raju by spelling 21 words correctly to his 15.

The Spelling Bee, which has been held since 1925, is sponsored by the EWScripps media company.

(SAM)

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