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A 12-year-old Californian student, Ananya Vinay, won the 90th US Scripps National Spelling Bee competition on Thursday taking home $40, 000 cash prize home. It is the first time since 2013 that the bee has declared a single champion instead of ending in a tie. Associated Press reported the bee had a written tiebreaker test ready this year. “It’s like a dream come true, I’m so happy right now,” she said after she was handed the trophy. She is the 13th consecutive Indian-American to win the bee.
Vinay, a sixth grader in Fresno, won the competition by spelling the word ‘marocain’, which is a French-derived word used to refer to a dress fabric made of ribbed crepe. The competition, which was held in Washington’s Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, had Vinay competing for 12 hours.
“Congratulations to our 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion, Ananya Vinay. What a fantastic performance! She played to win and win she did,” the National Spelling Bee’s official account tweeted today. Apart from ‘marocain’, Vinay also spelled the words, gifblaar, wayzgoose, tschefuncte, gesith, gargouillade and cecidomyia correctly.
Runner-up Rohan Rajeev could not spell the word “marram,” a Scandinavian-derived word for beach grass. Veteran speller Tejas Muthusamy of Glen Allen, Virginia, made his third top-10 finish but missed his word with five spellers left.
Vinay has previous won the California State Elementary Spelling Bee thrice. A group of 15 spellers had been competing on Thursday racing ahead of the 291 contestants who had qualified for the National Spelling Bee.