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‘Psammophile’ gets Indian-origin teen $50K in 2023 US Spelling Bee

Dallas, June 2, 2023- Keeping up the dominance of the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee in the US by Indian-origin children, 14-year-old Dev Shah from Florida has won the competition by correctly spelling the word “psammophile”.

He carried home the trophy and the $50,000 prize at the finals held on Thursday night in National Harbor, Maryland, after he spelt the word for an animal or plant that thrives in sandy soil.

From the 231 national contestants, the 11 finalists left standing in three days of gruelling competition, 10 were of Indian origin.

After nine were eliminated, Shah went into the final round against 14-year-old Charlotte Walsh from Arlington, Virginia, beating her with bathypitotmeter (a device for measuring water temperature and current) before clinching the award by spelling the final word correctly.

Shradha Rachamreddy and Surya Kapu tied for the third place with a $15,000 prize.

Shah is a class 8 student from Largo.

Schistorrhachis, aegagrus and were among the words he spelt correctly through 15 rounds reaching the top.

Children of Indian origin have dominated the contest, which tests not only the rote memorisation of spellings but also the knowledge of the origin of words and their structure and usage.

Thousands of students from around the US and some foreign countries compete in local and regional competitions before the field is narrowed to 231.

Since Balu Natarajan won it in 1985, 21 Indian-origin children have followed him, monopolising it from 2008 to 2018.

Harini Logan was the winner last year resuming the Indian lead, after a 2021 win by a non-Indian. (Agency)

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