It took Ananya Vinay five extremely difficult words to spell before she went on to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee champ title for 2017. Tchefuncte, wayzgoose, Hypapante, gifblaar and finally marocain, were the words that led the 12-year-old sixth-grader from California to win the much-coveted title. Marocain, which essentially means a dress fabric made from rayon, wool or silk, was the final word that got the 12-year-old to clinch the crown on Thursday, June 1.

Ananya Vinay wins spell bee

Vinay is the 13th consecutive Indian-American and the 18th winner out of 22 with an Indian heritage to win the competition. Her competitor also shared the same roots – India. In her final round, Ananya faced Rohan Rajeev, an eighth grader, and subsequently beat him in a 21-round head-to-head competition.

14-year old Rohan gave his best as he tackled words like emphyteusis and cheiropompholyx, but eventually lost out to Vinay, when he misspelled marram, which is a type of grass found on the beach.

The event was held in Oxom Hill, Maryland.

This is the first time in four years that the bee declared a sole champion. Vinay, apart from taking home the title, will also get cash prize worth $40,000 and a trophy. Apart from these, the 12-year-old spelling bee winner will also get U.S. Savings bonds worth $2,500, a trip to New York and Hollywood, and a complete reference library. Rajeev, who came second, will also get $30,000 while the competitors who came third and fourth will get cash prize worth $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.

Ananya Vinay and her battle to the crown

Ananya was not seen as a very strong competition in the 2017 Scripps Spell Bee, but surprisingly she outdid other better-known spellers and also survived a long duel with her opponent Rajeev. The battle between Ananya and Rajeev went on for 21 rounds out of the 25 championship rounds, at the end of which she emerged the champion.

Never once during the competition did he fumble on any word, or took more than her allotted 2 minutes to spell the word.

At times, she would ask out the question in a clear monotone, and sometimes she didn’t even bother to inquire other details of the word before spelling it. After winning the competition, Ananya says that she knew them all.

She, however, did not fare that well in the last year’s competition and was ousted after making it to the Top 50. She made the mistake of misspelling a relatively easy word, “multivalent.” Vinay Sreekumar, Ananya's father, had stated that her daughter panicked at the time, which prodded her to work harder for this year’s competition.

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