Harini Logan, an Indian origin girl, won the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Thursday. The Class 8 student from Texas won the competition by spelling more words correctly in a spell-off, the Bee’s first since its inception in 1925.
Ms Logan beat Vikram Raju, another Indian origin student, who studies in Class 7 in Denver.
The Spelling Bee had its tense moments when both the competitors failed to correctly spell two words in a row between Rounds 13 and 18, reported USA Today. This prompted the judges to choose a spell-off – a 90-second round to spell as many words as possible correctly, the report further said.
While Ms Logan spelled 21 words correctly, her opponent could only manage 15, leading to her win.
The New York Times reported that a heart-stopping moment came for Ms Logan, 14, when she was eliminated in the finals. But the judges later decided that the definition she had given for the word pullulation was acceptable.
This was the fourth and final appearance for Ms Logan in the Bee, and she called the victory “surreal”, according to NYT.
Vikram Raju, 12, was standing with his head bowed after the three-hour-long competition. But when the host LeVar Burton asked him if he would return to the Bee next year, the answer was an emphatic “yes”.
Indian Americans have always dominated the competition, however, last year the streak was broken after 14-year-old Zaila Avantgarde became the first-ever African-American contestant to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The National Bee is a high-profile, high-pressure endurance test as much as a nerd spelling match and spellers spend months preparing for it.
The Bee was cancelled in 2020 – for the first time since World War II – due to the coronavirus pandemic. But there were eight co-champions in 2019, seven of whom were Indian Americans.