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Indian American boy wins Nat Geo contest

Akshay Rajagopal (11) wins the '08 National Geographic Bee contest, taking home a $25,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership.

india Updated: May 23, 2008 03:14 IST

An 11-year-old Indian American boy won the 2008 National Geographic Bee contest, taking home a $25,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership.

The contest was organised by the National Geographic Society.

Akshay Rajagopal, a grade six student from Lincoln, Nebraska, emerged winner at the contest held in Washington, DC, Wednesday for students from fifth through eighth grades, aged 10 to 14. Nearly five million students take part in the National Geographic Bee contest each year.

The final question to which Rajagopal provided the correct answer in a jiffy was: The urban area of Cochabamba has been in the news in recent years due to protests over the privatisation of the municipal water supply and regional autonomy issues. Cochabamba is the third largest conurbation in what country? Answer: Bolivia.

Rajagopal, who attends Lux Middle School in Lincoln, answered all questions correctly in Tuesday's preliminary rounds and the final and championship rounds where the top 10 contestants pitted their geographical knowledge against one another.

The competition was moderated for the 20th year by the 'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek.

The runner up in the contest, who received a $15,000 college scholarship, was Alabama's Hunter Bledsoe, 13, an eighth-grader at Hewitt Trussville Middle School in Trussville.

There were two other Indian American students among the 10 finalists: Nikhil Desai of California and Milan Sandhu of New Hampshire.