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Teens become first joint US spelling champions in 52 years

Published on May 30, 2014 11:49 AM
Co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Ansun Sujoe (left) of Fort Worth, Texas and Sriram Hathwar (right) of Painted Post, New York, stand under falling confetti after winning, at National Harbor, Maryland, USA, on May 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: EPA

OXON HILL, United States (AFP) - Two young American teenagers of South Asian heritage made spelling history on Thursday when they became the first co-winners of the Scripps National Spelling Bee since 1962.

Ansun Sujoe, 13, and Sriram Hathwar, 14, hoisted the gold cup after they saw off 10 other finalists and then spelled their way through the demanding final list of 25 words.

Hathwar would have been the champion after correctly spelling stichomythia, meaning a dialogue of altercation in Greek drama, the penultimate word on the list.

But then Sujoe came through with the final word, feuilleton, a French-derived noun for a newspaper supplement or soap opera, making him and Hathwar the first joint champions in 52 years.

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