14-year-old Indian-American student Pranay Varada has won the prestigious USD 50,000 National Geographic Bee competition, maintaining the dominance of the community in the contest.
“I was absolutely sure I could win that challenge,” Varada said soon after bagging the coveted competition, which for the past decade has been dominated by Indian-Americans.
“Having done this for such a long time and winning it now, it’s just a feeling of satisfaction,” Varada, an eighth grader from Texas, said.
A runner-up last year, he was declared the winner as he won the first tie-breaker question when he correctly identified the Kunlun Mountains as the 1,200-mile range that separates the Taklamakan Desert from the Tibetan Plateau. As a result, he gets USD 50,000 in scholarship and other prizes.
Veda Bhattaram, another Indian-American from New Jersey, finished third at the finals held on Wednesday night, while Thomas Wright from Wisconsin was declared the runner-up.
Wright received USD 25,000 and Bhattaram got USD 10,000 in scholarships.
This year, six of the 10 finalists were Indian-Americans. Indian-Americans have won the National Geographic Bee competition for the last six consecutive years. Last year, Rishi Nair, a sixth grader from Florida, had won the contest.