New Delhi: The 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee was won by Dev Shah, a 14-year-old Indian-American student from Florida, who spelled the word “psammophile” correctly. Shah received the USD 50,000 prize and the 95th national bee title on Thursday after spelling the word, which means a plant or animal that lives well in sandy places, at the event in National Harbor, Maryland. “It’s surreal…My legs are still shaking,” he said. After much anticipation about a possible spell-off, a smiling Shah won by correctly spelling ‘psammophile’, a plant or animal that thrives in sandy areas, the Washington Post newspaper reported. “Psammo meaning sand, Greek”? he asked. “Phile, meaning love, Greek”
He seemed confident when he asked for the word’s origin and meaning, but also requested all the information to be sure. The Washington Post newspaper said there was no need for a tie-breaker round. Shah’s parents joined him on stage, very emotional, and his mother said he had been training for this for four years. The New York Times newspaper said this was his third try. He also competed in 2019 and 2021.
Eleven students made the finals after 11 million people entered spelling competitions throughout the world. The preliminary rounds began Tuesday, while the quarterfinals and semifinals took place Wednesday. Charlotte Walsh, a 14-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, was the runner-up.
The Spelling Bee, which features elementary and middle school students spelling words that would cause most adults to stumble, has had a tumultuous few years. The National Spelling Bee was launched in 1925.
Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the competition was cancelled in 2020, a significant shake-up for what is billed as the US’ largest and longest-running educational programme. The Bee returned in 2021 but with a few changes.