Kids create a buzz at spell bee

The demarche was clear: Spell your way to victory. And the order was followed well in a closely contested battle at the India Spell Bee (ISB), which saw eight students from four different categories emerge winners, leaving behind the remaining 8,200 students who had entered the competition from Bangalore.

Not that there were no hiccups. Some students spelt doom to words that the British –– the longest beholders of the language –– take pride in. “Sincerely,” for that matter, was spelt “Since yearly.”

Ask the young lady what happened and after much deliberation, she said: “...I thought it was right. My ‘miss’ always says breaking up words will help spelling them.” The girl had broken the word into since and yearly and hoped it made ‘sincerely.’

ISB Chief Executive Officer R Shankar Narayan, delighted with the way the competition panned out, said: “We shortlisted 240 students from the 8,200 to take part in the pre-finals today and only 16 students from each of the four categories, separated according to their classes, went on to take part in the finals.” The winners of the four categories have qualified for the national level spelling bee that will be held in April in Bangalore.

“Syzygy” (the straight line configuration of the sun, earth and the moon) was among the toughest words.

And among the brightest kids in the hall was Ritvik Shetty Mandyam, a class six student at Vidyaniketan School. Ritvik spelt as many as 17 words correctly in just a minute, and of course, went on to win in his category. Shishir Hathwar, the 25-year-old Guinness Book record holder for spelling 50 words in the reverse in the shortest time, said: “The Guinness record for the number of words spelt in a minute stands at 14.” Of course, the words are tougher and longer.

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