Indian-Americans win Spelling Bee jointly, create history

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, National Harbor (Maryland)
  • Updated: May 31, 2014 07:09 IST

Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe won the 87th Spelling Bee on Thursday making history as the first Indian Americans to win the contest jointly, a first for the championship since 1962.

Hathwar, a five time veteran of the championship came as a favourite, but Sujoe, a first timer surprised everyone with a dazzling performance, forcing a draw.

“The contest was against the dictionary and not against each other,” said Hathwar, 14, of the last few rounds of the contest, when he had only Sujoe, 13, to compete against.

President Barack Obama congratulated the winners in a tweet: “Congrats to Ansun and Sriram, the incredible co-champs of the #ScrippsNationalSpellingBee. You make us all proud! -bo”.

A tie such as this is rare, and happens only when the Spelling Bee pronouncer runs out of words pre-selected for the contest — and it came to that Thursday night.

The co-champions in 1962, the first time ever, were, said Spelling Bee organizers, Nettie Crawford from El Paso, Texas and Michael Day of St. Louis, Missouri.

On Thursday, the Indian American boys set another record.

Sujoe correctly spelled “feuilleton”, which means “a part of a European newspaper or magazine devoted to material designed to entertain the general reader,” to tie Hathwar.

Co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Ansun Sujoe (L) of Fort Worth, Texas and Sriram Hathwar (R) of Painted Post, New York, hold up their trophy, at National Harbor, Maryland. They are the first co-champions in 52 years. (EPA Photo)

The Bee, which is open to students of up to the eighth grade, started with 11 million contestants this year, but only 281 made it to the last stages, held over two days outside DC.

Indian Americans continued their dominance of the contest, winning if for seventh consecutive year. They have swept every such contest, including the Geographic Bee.

“The children were just brilliant,” said Ratnam Chitturi, whose non-profit that trains children for the bee and other such contests is widely credited with the dominance of Indian Americans.

Four of the last five finalists on the stage Thursday night were Indian Americans. And then there were just four of them, when Mary Horton, 13, spelt “aetites” wrong.

Three of them were trained by Chitturi, including Hathwar.

Ashwini Veermani, 14-year-old eighth grader from Ohio who who came fourth, would .

His sister Anamika Veeramani won the championship in 2010.


Indian Americans rule: past champions

2008: Sameer Mishra
2009: Kavya Shivashankar
2010: Anamika Veeramani
2011: Sukanya Roy
2012: Snigdha Nandipati
2013: Arvind Mahankali

From Around the Web
Sponsored by Revcontent

also read

Defiant Turkey extends police powers, risks straining ties with NATO
Show comments

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Chrome and Ad BlockPlus users

1.Press the ‘ABP’ icon in your toolbar at top right of this page

2. Click on ‘Enabled on this site’; this should now change to ‘Disabled on this site’


chrome



For Chrome and Ad Block users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Don’t run on pages on this domain’ and then click ‘exclude’ on the pop up


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Mozilla and AdBlock Plus (ABP) users

1.Press the ‘ABP’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Disable on hindustantimes.com’


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Internet Explorer and AdBlock Plus users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock Plus’ icon in your status bar at the bottom of the screen

2.Select the option ‘Disable on hindustantimes.com’


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Safari and AdBlock users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Don't run pages on this domain’ and then click 'exclude'


chrome