Anirudh Kathirvel, a nine-year-old Indian-origin boy, has won the first ‘The Great Australian Spelling Bee’ contest, winning a 50,000 dollars scholarship.
Kathirvel, born in Melbourne to a Tamilian couple, won an education scholarship of 50,000 dollars along with an impressive 10,000 dollars worth goods for his school on September 9. The words Anirudh correctly spelled were aardvark, ricochet, psychoanalyst and camaraderie, among others. Another finalist named Grace failed to spell ratatouille, giving the title to Kathirvel.
Anirudh said he could not believe his luck after winning the scholarship and asked his fellow spellers to “pinch” him. “I need to rub my eyes and see if this is a dream,” he said adding “Nope. Nope. Nope. Real. I can’t describe it. It’s like the best day of my life.”
Anirudh said his favourite word to spell was ‘euouae’ as he liked the structure of the word as it was the longest word with consecutive vowels. “Some of the other words I like to spell are feuilleton, cephalalgia, ombrophobous,” he said adding that he loves watching Indian movies.
Anirudh, whose parents Prithiviraj and Sujatha also migrated to Australia from Tamil Nadu 16 years ago, said, “I started reading from the age of two and slowly my reading passion evolved into my love for words. My parents encouraged and helped me to build up on my spelling.”
“My first spelling competition was when I was in grade 1. But my first year in the spelling competition was challenging. “Gradually my confidence increased and I was pushing my spelling abilities to its limits. That’s how my spelling journey has begun,” he added