Indian americans dominated at the US National Spelling Bee 2017
Ananya Vinay, a 12-year-old Indian-American girl, won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee 2017, taking home USD 40,000 cash prize after correctly spelling “marocain” to become the 13th consecutive winner from the community.
A sixth-grader from Fresno, California, Ananya won the spelling competition after numerous rounds against Rohan Rajeev, another Indian-American student, underscoring the overwhelming dominance of Indian-Americans in the competition.
Ananya and Rajeev were the last two standing of the initial 291 spellers.
The annual contest opened with a record 291 spellers from across the country and the globe. The field was narrowed to 40 finalists, based upon two oral rounds of spelling and the results of a written spelling and vocabulary test. In the end, just 15 spellers were still standing and went on to compete for the championship whose final rounds were broadcast live.
Ananya is the 13th consecutive Indian-American to win the bee and the 18th of the past 22 winners with Indian heritage.
The 2016 Spelling Bee was won by two boys of Indian origin – Nihar Janga, 11, from Texas, and Jairam Hathwar, 13, from New York.
The 2015 had been won by Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar – Vanya’s older sister Kavya won in 2009.
In 2014, the winners were Ansun Sujoe and Sriram Hathwar, older brother of this year’s winner Jairam. Other Indian origin winners: Arvind Mahankali in 2013, Snigdha Nandipati in 2012, Sukanya Roy in 2011 and Anamika Veeramani in 2010.
Apart from winning the last nine spelling bees in the US, Indian-American children have also won the last five National Geographic Bees ,which tests the geographic knowledge of millions of American children. From 2005, the winning rate of Indian-origin children in these two competitions has been well over 80%.