Texas boy wins National Spelling Bee after spelling 'koinonia'

Erin Howard spells a word during the Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbor in Oxon Hill Maryland U.S

This was his final year of elegibility for the national contest.

Aritra Banerjee of Rocky Hill spelled "asytrocyte" and Arin Bhandari of West Haven spelled "congratulatory" to advance.

This year, 41 of the orginal 516 spellers made it to the first round of the the finals.

How would you do in the competition?

Karthik Nemmani attributed his success to his father and his spelling coach.

Atman correctly spelled cantico in round two and vitascope in round three.

Karthik's victory Thursday night put the spotlight back onto the story of this bee week - the new wild-card program that Scripps launched to give a chance to spellers like him, who have to compete against some of the nation's best spellers at the local level. When asked at what point he knew he could spell the winning word "koinonia", the Class 8 student told CNN, "When I heard it".

In all, 19 of the 95 Bee winners have been Indian American children, an incredible 20%; and 17 of those came in the last 18 years alone.

More news: Serena mirrors Black Panther to battle past Pliskova

RSVBee created the record-breaking pool of competitors, which prompted the Bee to add an extra day of on-stage spelling to the tournament.

"I had confidence, but I didn't really think it would happen", Nemmani said moments after receiving his trophy at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in suburban Washington.

Last week Indian-origin Venkat Ranjan, won the National Geographic Bee, which carries a $50,000 scholarship, beating out two others.

Nearly a cult among Indian-Americans, Spelling Bees are organised by community organisations and by businesses wanting to reach them.

After her defeat, she was swarmed by dozens of current and former spellers who wished her well, smiling throughout.

During prime time on ESPN, she spelled arrhostia and gnomonics before missing her word.

Karthik, for his part, took no extra satisfaction in vanquishing a familiar foe. "I've only watched it from the audience or on TV and now I am here", said Simone Kaplan, a sixth-grader at St. Bonaventure Catholic School in Davie. "We were against the dictionary".

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