How champion ‘Bee’ Kavya spelled victory

May 29th, 2009 - 11:36 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 29 (IANS) India American teenager Kavya Shivashankar finally won it all in the televised US National Spelling Bee competition, nailing esoteric words from “hydrargyrum” to “Laodicean”, coolly writing them down with her finger on her palm.

First, the budding neurosurgeon correctly spelled “hydrargyrum”, as chemists call mercury or quicksilver. Then she nailed “blancmange”, a moulded dessert, and “baignoire”, a low theatre box.

In the fourth round, she correctly spelled “huisache”, a thorny shrub or small tree. Then it was “ecossaise”, a musical term, and “diacoele”, a structure in the brain. Then “bouquiniste”, a secondhand bookseller. And “isogoge”, an introduction to a branch of study, and “phoresy”, a term in biology.

Finally, after all the others had missed a word, 13-year-old Kavya correctly spelled “Laodicean”, indifferent or lukewarm, especially in matters of religion or politics.

It was a dream come true for Kavya, having finished 10th, eighth and fourth over the last three years. Her role model is Nupur Lala, the 1999 champion featured in the documentary “Spellbound”. She enjoys playing the violin, bicycling, swimming and learning Indian classical dance.

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