Plans put aside for global spelling bee competition

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The organisers of the Scripps National Spelling Bee said Wednesday they are putting aside plans for a global edition of the iconic US spelling competition for youngsters.

The EW Scripps media group had announced in May 2012 that an international spelling bee with teams of three spellers from the United States and other countries could be staged as early as December this year.

The concept reflected the growing number of non-Americans taking part in the US event, founded in 1925, and this year takes place on May 28-30 at a resort outside Washington.

In a statement Wednesday, the Scripps National Spelling Bee - a non-profit supported by EW Scripps which runs the competition - stated "there are no immediate plans to initiate an international spelling bee event." "After talking with numerous potential sponsors and local organisers, there is clearly enthusiasm around the international bee concept," said its director Paige Kimble, who herself won the championship in 1981.

"As such, we will continue to evaluate the idea and opportunity. We maintain a long-term vision of adding a new, international spelling bee and will provide updates as we are able," she added.

This year's spelling bee with include children and teenagers from the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea as well as the United States and its overseas territories.

Last year Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of San Diego, California became the fifth American of south Asian origin to win the spelling bee when she correctly spelled guetapens, a French-derived word for ambush.

She took home a trophy, US$30,000 (S$37,000) in cash, a savings bond and a college scholarship.

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