12-year-old crowned US Spelling Bee champion, walks away with $55,000 cash prize

WASHINGTON  - Ananya Vinay of Fresno, California won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday (June 1), taking home a $40,000 (S$55,438) cash prize after 12 hours of picking her way along a precarious lifeline of consonants and vowels.

The 12-year-old sixth-grader correctly spelled the word marocain, a dress fabric made of warp of silk or rayon and a filling of other yarns, to win the 25-word championship round of the spelling bee held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in suburban Washington.

Vinay, who correctly spelled words like gifblaar, zeaxanthin, and Tchefuncte, beat out second place finalist Rohan Rajeev after he misspelled "marram", a perennial grass that grows on coastal dunes.

The annual Spelling Bee, now in its 90th year, involves more than 11 million youths from all 50 US states, US territories from Puerto Rico to Guam, and several countries, from Jamaica to Japan.

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