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Challenging Words No Problem for Children in US National Spelling Bee - 2003-05-30


English words like "chrystocrene", "guichet" or "hypozeuxis" aren't in most peoples' vocabulary. But they pose little problem for more than 200 gifted students who came to Washington to compete in the 76th annual National Spelling Bee championship. This year's winner, a 13-year-old boy from Texas, spent years studying the dictionary to earn his prize.

The word worth $12,000 and a set of encyclopedias at this year's National Spelling Bee is...

"Pococurante. P-O-C-O-C-U-R-A-N-T-E, pococurante."
"You are the champion."

Thirteen-year-old Sai Gunturi from the U.S. state of Texas didn't hesitate before he correctly spelled pococurante which means non-concerned or indifferent to win the competition. He beat 14-year-old Evelyn Blacklock in the 15th round after she mis-spelled the word gnathonic, G-N-A-T-H-O-N-I-C.

The two were the finalists in a group that started with 251 students from the United States and elsewhere around the globe. Some came from Europe, Guam, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Bahamas and American Samoa as well.

Those competing had to win regional competitions before qualifying for the National Spelling Bee.

Sai, who has tried for the spelling bee title three times before, says he doesn't know how he will celebrate his victory, but he knows what he'll do with the money. "Buy a lot of video games, like a lot," he says.

Even those who didn't win say they enjoyed the experience. Competitor Rajiv Tarigopula says he made new friends and learned some life lessons. "You have to work hard to get what you want, it doesn't just come easily, and stuff like that," he says.

Well-said for a 10-year-old.

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