Two Indian-American declared joint winners of Spelling Bee champions


Two American kids of Indian origin, Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam,  have been declared joint champions of this year’s National Spelling Bee contest yet again.

Incidentally, Cole Shafer-Ray, who bagged the third spot also happens to be an Indian-American. This is the eighth year in running that this prestigious championship has been won by a child of Indian origin.

Vanya correctly spelled the word “scherenschnitte” and Gokul correctly spelled the word “nunatak.”

285 spellers competed for the title in this year’s championship, which took place on Thursday night and was broadcast live on ESPN.

In 2014 too, two Americans of Indian origin, Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe, were jointly declared the winners.

Vanya, aged 13, said, “This is a dream come true. I have wanted this for such a long time.” Vanya’s older sister, Kavya had won championship in 2009.

This isn’t Vanya’s first major competition victory. A music lover, she also plays tuba and piano. She had also won Lifetime’s “Child Genius” show earlier this year, getting $100,000 for her college education.

Gokul, 14, said that he had worked hard for the contest for the past several years.

Both Vanya and Gokul had taken part in this competition even in the past but the success had eluded them.

Of the 49 finalists this year, 25 were of Indian origins, while seven of them qualified for the final 10.