12-year-old Indian-origin Ananya Vinay won the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee 2017 contest yesterday. Vinay, a sixth grader from Fresno, California, took home a USD40,000 cash prize after 12 hours of picking her way along a precarious lifeline of consonants and vowels.
She correctly spelt the word ‘marocain’, a dress fabric made of warp of silk or rayon and a filling of other yarns, to win the 25-word championship round of the spelling bee held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in suburban Washington.
"It's like a dream come true. I am so happy right now," she told ESPN after the competition.
A student of Fugman Elementary school, Vinay considers spelling a sport. Her favourite sport is basketball, and she is a Golden State Warriors fan. In 2016, Vinay, a natural speller and an avid reader, had volunteered for the Fresno Community Food Bank where she and her friends organised a food drive for Thanksgiving.
Another Indian-origin student and the runner-up, Rohan Rajeev, missed the word ‘marram’, a Scandinavian-derived word for beach grass, according to reports.
The Bee tested participants’ knowledge of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.
After three consecutive years of ties, the Bee this year had a sole champion. Reportedly, a tie-breaker test was also added this year however, it did not come into play.
First started in 1925, the purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.