Semi-finalists shine at intermediate round of The Big Spell 2017

Students taking part in a challenge at The National Spelling Championships.
ST VIDEO: NG SOR LUAN
ST VIDEO: AZMI ATHNI
The Spelling Bee semi-final at SPH Auditorium.
The Spelling Bee semi-final at SPH Auditorium.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Pupils at Spelling Bee semi-final at SPH Auditorium adjusting their bibs before the finals start.
Pupils at Spelling Bee semi-final at SPH Auditorium adjusting their bibs before the finals start.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Pupils file on stage for the Spelling Bee semi-final at SPH Auditorium.
Pupils file on stage for the Spelling Bee semi-final at SPH Auditorium.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
The first contestant at Spelling Bee semi-final at SPH Auditorium was spelt.
The first contestant at Spelling Bee semi-final at SPH Auditorium was spelt.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - The two semi-finals of the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship 2017 could not have been more different. One featured a smooth win while the other had the audience at the edge of their seats with a half-hour long protracted battle for third place.

Clarissa Ella Ng, 11, from Methodist Girls’ School (Primary) and Lee I Shiang, 12, from Rosyth School were neck and neck, spelling words such as "confabulation" and "obeisance", but I Shiang eventually prevailed by spelling the word “insouciance” correctly.

Carissa Tan Huixuan, 11, a Primary 6 pupil from Nanyang Primary School came in first at the Group A semi-final held at Singapore Press Holdings News Centre, from 32 semi-finalists, spelling “moribundity” for the win.

Sam Shreyas Joseph, 11, a Primary 6 pupil at St Joseph's Institution Junior beat 36 other semi-finalists from Group B at SPH Media Centre, with the winning word “shogun”, in a round that featured words with foreign origins.

The two semi-final winners are guaranteed spots at the final of the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship 2017, which will be held in ITE College Central on April 22.

Contending with them for the title of the nation’s top speller will be some 13 of Singapore’s top spellers, who will be selected through a national ranking.

RHB Banking Group and The Straits Times are co-organisers of the event, in partnership with the Ministry of Education. It is supported by the National Library Board, and ITE College Central is the technology partner.

Mr Mike Chan, the chief executive officer and country head of RHB Bank Singapore, said: “The Spelling Championship is always very close to the heart of RHB. It's part of our CSR (corporate social responsibility) to really nurture the next generation.

“In today’s world, with technology, a lot of spelling is spellchecked, using software and smartphones.

“But you still need to know the fundamentals of English, and how to spell properly,” he said.

The top three winners at the two Big Spell semi-final venues are:

Group A
1st - Carissa Tan Huixuan, 11, Primary 6 pupil from Nanyang Primary School
2nd - Chan Jun Kiat Ryan, 11, Primary 6 pupil from Catholic High School (Primary)
3rd - Lee I Shiang, 12, Primary 6 pupil from Rosyth School

Group B
1st - Sam Shreyas Joseph, 11, Primary 6 pupil from St Joseph’s Institution Junior
2nd - Eashaa Pillai, 9, Primary 5 pupil from Raffles Girls’ Primary School
3rd - Matthew Ng Eng Kiat, 12, Primary 6 pupil from Anglo-Chinese School (Primary)

Go to www.straitstimes.com/tags/big-spell-2017 for stories from the preliminary round

Additional reporting by Ang Yiying