Spelling Bee: Record eight children win Scripps National in the US

Media captionErysipelas, bougainvillea, aiguillette – just some of the words finalists faced in dramatic showdown.

A record number of eight children have been crowned co-champions in the US of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

On Thursday night the finalists, aged 12 to 14, spelled their way through 20 tough rounds of the competition.

Organisers eventually announced that it was a tie, as they had run out of words that were challenging enough.

With six of the winners being Indian-American, it is the 12th year in a row that the bee has been won by children of Indian descent.

  • Why do Indian-Americans win spelling bee contests?

And while there have been co-champions before, officials say this is the first time in the competition’s 94-year history that there have been eight winners.

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The Scripps National Spelling Bee began on 26 May in Maryland and lasted three days

Some 562 super-spellers under the age of 15, from across the US, US territories and six other countries, took part.

But it was Rishik Gandhasri, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Erin Howard, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja who took home the top title.

As the final eight stood strong in the 18th round, Jacques Bailly, the bee’s pronouncer, told them: “We’re throwing the dictionary at you, and, so far, you are showing the dictionary who’s boss!”

Media captionCan these Spelling Bee parents spell as well as their kids?

Saketh, 13, told Associated Press: “I don’t know if I would’ve won if they kept going. I was super tired because it was like [midnight], and I was exhausted.”

Each will now receive a prize of $50,000 (£39,700), a $2,500 savings bond and reference books.

Among the words they spelled correctly were omphalopsychite, a person who stares at their navel to induce a mystical trance, and auftaktigkeit, a musical principle where all musical phrases begin on an upbeat.

There were quite a few tough medical terms in there too – including erysipelas, an infection that causes red rashes on the skin, and geeldikkop, a type of plant poisoning that can affect sheep.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee was started in 1925. However, this is the 92nd event because there were no competitions held in 1943, 1944 or 1945.

This year’s contest was held in Oxon Hill in Maryland. It began on 26 May and lasted for three days.