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Ananya Vinay, 12, wins US spelling bee with ‘marocain’

Ananya Vinay, 12, wins US spelling bee with ‘marocain’

Ananya Vinay of Fresno, California celebrates after winning the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S., June 1, 2017.

A 12-year-old girl from California has won the Scripps National Spelling Bee after a tense final in Washington.

Ananya Vinay from Fresno correctly spelled the word marocain – a type of dress fabric – to defeat Rohan Rajeev, 14, from Oklahoma.

The rivals had correctly spelled words including cheiropompholyx, durchkomponiert and tchefuncte as each waited for the other to slip up.

But Rohan misspelled the word marram and Ananya got two words right to win.

She said she felt “amazing” after her victory, adding: “It was just fun to see how far it would go.”


Could you have spelled these?

Here are some of the words Ananya and Rohan grappled with during their 45-minute spell-off.

Marocain – a heavy crepe fabric whose name is derived from the French word for Moroccan

Marram – a Scandinavian-derived word for a type of beach grass

Ghana’s representatibe, Lily Tugbah could not make it at the first attempt

Cheiropompholyx – a type of eczema affecting the skin of the hands and feet

Durchkomponiert – a German-origin word used to describe a song that is not based on repeated sections

Tchefuncte – relating to a Native American tribe that lived in Louisiana from 600 BC to 200 AD


Her father Vinay Sreekumar said she had a “deep passion for reading”.

Ananya – the thirteenth Indian-American in a row to win the spelling bee – said she planned to split the $40,000 prize money with her seven-year-old brother and put her share in an account for her college education.

The youngest-ever competitor, Edith Fuller of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who turned 6 in April, was eliminated from the competition last week.


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