Washington: Two Indian American students have jointly won the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition.
Vanya Shivashankar, 13, of Olathe, Kansas, and Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, of Chesterfield, Missouri, were declared co-champions on Thursday night, CNN reported.
Vanya correctly spelt ” scherenschnitte” and Gokul did likewise with “nunatak”.
In this year’s national championship, 285 spellers competed for the title.
Vanya, an eighth grader at California Trail Middle School, has competed in the national bee four other times. Last year, she tied for 13th place.
Her older sister, Kavya, was the 2009 National Spelling Bee champion.
“This is a dream come true. I can’t believe I’m up here. I’ve wanted this for such a long time,” she said, adding “I’m dedicating this to my grandma, because she passed away in October of 2013, and all she really wanted was her grandkids to do so well, and I hope I make her happy with this.”
Gokul, an eighth grader at Parkway West School, came in third place in last year’s competition.
After his victory, Gokul said the competition was a culmination of six years of hard work.
“I’ve dealt with defeat and success,” he said during the live broadcast. “I’m finally happy to have success.”