Houston: Karthik Nemmani, a 14-year-old Indian-American boy, won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee on Friday, taking home more than $42,000 in cash and prizes. He correctly spelt “koinonia” to become the 14th Indian-American champion in 11 consecutive years.
Karthik, an eighth-grader from McKinney, Texas, won the spelling competition after numerous rounds against second-placed Naysa Modi, another Indian-American student, highlighting the overwhelming dominance of Indian-Americans in the competition.
“I had confidence, but I didn’t think it would really happen,” said Karthik, adding that he knew he would correctly spell the word — meaning Christian fellowship or communion — as soon as he heard it.
The National Bee is a high-profile, high-pressure endurance test and spellers spend months preparing for it. It’s a lot of work, Karthik said, but worthwhile. Forty-one spellers advanced to the finals on Thursday out of a field of 516 — by far the largest in the 93-year history of the competition.