Two Indian American youngsters made history as Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe were declared co-champions in the Scripps National Spelling Bee contest after 52 years and for just the fourth time in the contest’s history.
“Whatever,” said Sujoe, 13, 7th grader from Fort Worth, Texas, as the seconds ticked down at the contest at the National Harbour Thursday night. He couldn’t get the word, “feuilleton,” out of his mouth, but he spelled it correctly.
Sujoe shared the trophy with Sriram Hathwar, 14, the lone repeat finalist of Painted Post, New York. His last correct spelling was “stichomythia.”
The duo spelling victory for Indian-Americans for the seventh time in a row share the title and a $30,000 scholarship. The last co-champions were in 1962. Before that joint winners were declared in 1950 and 1957.
In the final-round duel, Ansun and Sriram were both named champions after spelling a dozen words correctly in a row and nearly exhausting the 25 designated championship words.