12-year-old Wins $50,000 US Spelling Bee Prize

Mastering words such as “cricetine” and “indumentum”, 12-year-old Bruhat Soma clinched victory Thursday in the United States spelling bee.

The seventh-grade student from St. Petersburg, Florida, beamed as colorful confetti rained down after he won the tiebreaker.

“Bruhat Soma from Florida cemented his win by correctly spelling his final word, ‘abseil’,” organizer Scripps National Spelling Bee announced on X.

Soma, who also competed in the past two annual competitions, will take home a $50,000 prize and a championship trophy.

“I never expected this,” he said at a news conference after his win, quoted by The Washington Post.

The boy told reporters that there was only one word he did not recognize — but luckily it wasn’t his turn.

Soma correctly spelled 29 words in 90 seconds during the competition’s second-ever “Spell-off” tiebreaker, US media reported.

Such success was enough to see him put 12-year-old Faizan Zaki from Dallas, Texas, in second place.

In earlier rounds, Soma correctly spelled 10 words right, including “coulisse” — defined as a backstage area — and the Dutch town Hoofddorp.

In addition to spelling words correctly, Soma helped secure his victory with accurate definitions of a “troglodyte” — a primitive cave dweller — and “sine qua non” — something considered essential.

Children have participated in US classroom, school, and regional spelling bees in hopes of making it to the national contest since 1925, according to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.



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