NEW YORK:Sriram Hathwar from Painted Post correctly spelled the word ‘phorminx’ during the 2013 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee Finals to clinch the title of National Champion on Aug 16, which was taped live for broadcast on Sony Entertainment Television, Sriram along with 23 other finalists competed for the title. Siblings from Pearland TX – Shobha & Shourav Dasari – were National Runners-Up. Twenty-four top spellers from 12 regional centers gathered at the Rutgers College auditorium to battle it out for the title of champion and a $10,000 Grand Prize from MetLife.

The event was organized by leading South Asian advertising firm, Touchdown Media Inc. and sponsored by MetLife, a leading provider of insurance, employee benefits and other financial services. Sony Entertainment Television is the exclusive rights holder and will be broadcasting the event across the globe in over 119 countries. Airline major Air-India and education company C2Education have also come on board this year as sponsors for this event. “An elite group of 24 spellers from across the country gathered here tonight and the contest was tough! The best finally prevailed, so heartiest congratulations to Sriram and all the spellers”, says Rahul Walia, CEO, Touchdown Media Inc. and Founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee.

He also adds “This is a great platform that helps children showcase their talent, hone their skill and inculcate a sense of discipline and discipline that will help in their overall development. I urge parents to take advantage of this unique contest next year.” The special guest at the Finals was Syamantak Payra, 2012 South Asian Spelling Bee National Champion, who helped co-host a portion of the event. The champion received a $10,000 grand prize from MetLife along with the South Asian Spelling Bee trophy. The runners-up received tickets to India from Air India. “MetLife would like to congratulate all the winners, especially Sriram Hathwar, our new national this year, have planned on a series of episodes highlighting the journey of this event since its inception. SONY will be broadcasting a total of six episodes in 2013 giving sponsors, participants and viewers an insightful look at the Bee.

SET Asia is always looking to entertain and to involve our international viewers in shows such as the Spelling Bee and look forward to broadcast this exciting event to all its viewers around the globe.” After registering their child online at www.southasianspellingbee. com, parents brought them to the designated center and a 25 word written test was administered. Children had to spell 15 or more words correctly to qualify for the afternoon oral round and from there the top three were awarded prize money and the top two qualified for the Finals. From each of these centers, the finalists along with a parent were invited on an all expenses paid trip to the finals in NJ. Overall about 700 children registered to spell amongst all the centers.

The contest will be conducted annually in the June and July months, and the 2014 schedule will be announced in October this year. champion,” said Laurel Daring, assistant vice president, Diverse Markets, MetLife. “Being the title sponsor of the South Asian Spelling Bee competition has given MetLife the opportunity to play a role in the education of these talented young people whose dedication to furthering their educational goals is an inspiration to everyone. It is very gratifying to know that Sriram’s path to higher education will be assisted by this grand prize -– and that all the participants in the Bee have better prepared themselves for their future through commitment and hard work.”

The event was open to children up to 14 years of age and was held in 12 regional centers across the United States. These areas included, New Jersey, DC Metro area, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Bay Area and the newly added Orlando. The contest was conducted in written and oral format at the regional levels which served as the elimination as well as selection process for the finalists. Jaideep Janakiram, Head – North America, SET Asia commented, “Once again, we are proud to be associated with the Bee and

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