California/Nagpur: Indian American kids continued their domination in the Spelling Bee with Jairam Hathwar and Nihar Janga emerging as the co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition.
The competition ended in a tie for the third year in a row. The runner-up was Sneha Ganesh from Sacramento, California.
Finally, after three hours had passed, Hathwar earned his share of the trophy by correctly spelling “Feldenkrais”, a form of somatic education.
Both Jairam and Nihar said they knew some of the words they were given and figured out the spelling of the rest.
Nihar and Jairam became friends a year ago, and were on stage rooting for each other.
“I am just speechless”. “I thought it was over, because Nihar is so strong, such a great speller”. “I wanted to win but at the same time I felt bad for Jairam”. Nihar asked, not the first time he threw a definition at the judges.
Nihar was in his first bee and would have had three more years of eligibility, but he can’t compete again since he won. The contest had instituted a 25-round spell-off to try and avoid just such a deadlock.
Bee organizers insisted they’d be OK with another tie, but they changed the rules to make it less likely.
“He did pretty good for a first-grader”, Nihar said. Those efforts were in vain.
It took eight rounds to whittle the group of 10 down to three, to begin the championship rounds.
Snehaa bowed out on the first word of the championship round, misspelling “usucapion”.
Cooper Komatsu of Los Angeles was clearly nervous when it came his time to spell. A few minutes later, in Round 9, he misspelled “Wehrmacht” – which referred to the unified forces of Nazi Germany – and was eliminated from the competition.
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) – If not for his high-pitched voice, there would be no way to peg Nihar Janga as the youngest-ever victor of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. On Wednesday, all 284 spellers took the main stage at the Gaylord National Resort Maryland Ballroom to spell. Following two rounds of spelling, 171 spellers successfully spelled both words.
After results from the preliminary exam were announced, the field whittled to 45 spellers.
Earlier on Thursday, four rounds of spelling eliminated 35 of the 45 remaining spellers.