The 12-year-old took home the prize by spelling the French word “marocain”.

Desi spells victory Ananya Vinay becomes 13th consecutive Indian-American to win Spelling BeeFacebook/ Scripps National Spelling Bee
news Human interest Friday, June 02, 2017 - 13:26

Twelve-year-old Ananya Vinay became the latest in a long line of Americans with Indian origins to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the United States. She took home $40,000 in cash and prizes after she correctly spelled the word "marocain", which is of French origin and means a type of dress fabric made of ribbed crepe and yarn. 

Ananya was the epitome of composure as she steadily progressed through the rounds with ease to become the first sole winner of the competition since 2013. Scripps National Spelling Bee included a tie-breaker round in this edition of the competition, but it was not needed as Vinay calmly spelled her way to victory. She was put to the test by her 14-year-old opponent Rohan Rajeev, who managed to hold on for nearly 20 rounds until he misspelled a Scandinavian-derived word "marram", which refers to a coarse European grass found on coastal dunes. 

"It's like a dream come true,'' Ananya told ESPN after winning the competition, before adding "I'm so happy right now.'' She also took the time out to console her opponent Rohan Rajeev, after celebrating her win with her parents and her younger brother. This is the second time that she has competed in the National Spelling Bee, but Ananya still had a relatively low profile before the commencement of the competition, having failed to enter the top 50 in the last year’s Spelling Bee. She will return to present the award to the winner of next year’s competition. 

The third and fourth places went to Mira Dedhia and Shourav Dasari, both of Indian origin. Mira Dedhia was attempting to become the first offspring of a former competitor to win, while Shourav Dasari was widely recognized as a favourite to win, after winning both 'minor-league' bees before the competition.

The National Spelling Bee has been dominated by Indian-Americans in the recent past, and this year’s win is the thirteenth consecutive win by an Indian American in the competition. The current run of 13 consecutive victories began with Sameer Mishra in 2008. Indian-Americans have won 18 of the past 22 Spelling Bees and have established themselves as serious competitors. 

Ananya, like most of the Indian origin Americans in the National Spelling Bee, developed her skills in spelling bees run by the North South Foundation, a volunteer driven non-profit organization that was set-up in 1989 by Indian immigrants. These spelling bees are highly competitive and are usually limited to Indian Americans, which is why such a large proportion of competitors have Indian origins, even though Indian Americans make up a mere 0.9% of the American population. 



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