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25 Indian-Americans among 49 spelling bee semifinalists
May 29, 2015, 2:50 pm

As many as 25 Indian-Americans have made it to the list of 49 semi-finalists of the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, in yet another indication of their continued dominance in the prestigious annual contest.

These Indian-Americans would vie for top positions in the final of 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee scheduled tomorrow (India time).

For several years now, Indian-Americans have put up formidable challenges to their competitors and won most of the prestigious spelling awards in the United States.

Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, from St Louis, Missouri, who finished third last year, is considered favourite this year. Sriram Hathwar, 12, and Ansun Sujoe were the joint winners last year.

Making her fifth appearance to the Spelling Bee, 13-year- old Vanya Shivashankar from Kansas is another front-runner.

Vanya previously competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2010, 2012 (tied for 10th place), 2013 (tied for 5th place) and 2014 (tied for 13th place).

Her elder sister, Kavya, won the 2009 championship. The National Spelling Bee started in 1925 with nine contestants. Within the US, all 50 states are represented this year, along with competitors from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Department of Defence Schools in Europe. This year the winner will get a cash prize of some US$ 35,000.

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