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31/05/24 | 11:15 am

Indian American Bruhat Soma wins 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee

Bruhat Soma, a seventh-grader, won the US National Spelling Bee champion title along with a Scripps Cup trophy and a USD 50,000 check after acing a 90-second spell-off against the second runner-up, 12-year-old Faizan Zaki from Texas.

Bruhat spelled 29 words correctly in the tiebreaker, surpassing Zaki by nine, to win the title on Thursday night. His winning word was “abseil,” referring to a descent in mountaineering using a rope looped over a projection above.”

Bruhat started the spell-off and breezed through 30 words, establishing what seemed like an unbeatable lead. Faizan, however, struggled initially, attempting 25 words but faltering on four of them. The Scripps National Spelling Bee attracted 11 million contestants globally, with Soma emerging as one of the most confident finalists.

With this win, Soma has become the 28th Indian-American to hold the prestigious title, having beaten over 228 other competitors, including 7 finalists on Thursday night alone.

Bruhat had previously participated in the competitions in 2022 (tying for 163rd place) and 2023 (tying for 74th place).

According to his profile, Bruhat is multi-talented individual with diverse interests and hobbies. He enjoys playing and watching basketball, with LeBron James being his favourite player. He is also fond of badminton and Ping-Pong, showcasing his passion for sports. Bruhat is a also a music enthusiast, playing the snare drum in his middle school band. An avid reader, he eagerly devours any book he can lay his hands on.

The champions’ parents and sisters were also present at the event. They expressed immense pride in their sons’ accomplishments. Bruhat’s mother also shared that her son has a sharp memory and has memorized 80 percent of the Bhagavad Gita.

The preliminary rounds took place on Wednesday, while the quarterfinals and semifinals followed on Thursday.
This year’s competition saw six of the eight finalists of South Asian descent, including Indian Americans.

Over the past two decades, Indian Americans have risen to prominence in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, a group that constitutes about 1.3 per cent of the US population.

The annual event has become synonymous with Indian Americans, with this year’s cohort comprising a majority of them.

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