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Perennial third-place finisher Arvind Mahankali conquers trouble with German words to take top prize.
Arvind Mahankali, 13, from Bayside Hills, NY, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee this week by correctly spelling “knaidel,” a type of dumpling.
Arvind was the 86-year-old spelling competition’s third-place winner in 2011 and 2012.
This year, he beat second-place finisher Pranav Sivakumar, 13, from Illinois, after Pranav flubbed the spelling of the word “cyanophycean.”
Other finalists exited on words like "pathognomonic," a disease's characteristics, "doryline," a kind of ant, "melocoton," a grafted peach, and "kaburi," a land crab, Reuters reported.
Arvind is the sixth American of south Asian heritage in a row to become the Scripps spelling bee champion and the 11th to win the competition in the last 15 years.
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Arvind, who wants to become a quantum physicist, said he would use his $30,000 cash prize for college, Reuters reported.
The son of a physician mother and an IT consultant father, Arvind had struggled with words of Germanic origin before. But with his victory, “I thought, 'The German curse had turned into a German blessing,’ ” Arvind said, according to Reuters. “It means I can retire on a good note.”