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14-year-old Dev Shah wins top US spelling competition

By spelling a 11-letter word, Dev Shah a 14-year-old boy of Indian origin won the spelling competition (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@ScrippsBee)

The 14-year-old boy Dev Shah of Indian origin made the headlines as he won the prestigious 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition held in the US State Maryland.

Studying in eighth grade, Shah won a $50,000 cash prize by correctly spelling the 11-letter word “psammophile”.

Shah who hails from Florida is not new to this competition as he had participated in the earlier ones held in 2019 and 2021. With Shah winning the contest he becomes the 22nd champion of the Spelling Bee with a South Asian heritage in the last 24 years. The National Spelling Bee started in 1925 and is open to students till the eighth grade.

The final word โ€œPsammophileโ€ which Shah spelled is defined as an organism that thrives in sandy areas by Merriam-Webster. When asked to spell it, he, according to the New York Times, queried about the details of the roots of the world. “Psammo meaning sand, Greek? Phile, meaning love, Greek?” he asked.

Following his win, he said: “It’s surreal. My legs are still shaking.โ€

Another 14-year-old, Charlotte Walsh who is from Virginia came second. She along with Dev were the 11 finalists from among the 11 million contestants from across the world.