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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December, 2004, 10:46 GMT
Teenager spells out UK word win
Gayathri Kumar and Eamonn Holmes
Gayathri has won a holiday and equipment for her school
A 13-year-old girl has beaten 100,000 hopefuls to become the best young speller in the UK.

Gayathri Kumar, from Lancashire, correctly spelt words including troglodyte and disequilibrium to win the BBC's Hard Spell competition.

The final, shown on BBC One on Sunday night, saw Gayathri go head-to-head with the other finalist, Nisha Thomas.

Gayathri, from Ormskirk, took the title when she correctly spelt Chihuahua and Nisha stumbled over dachshund.

Five finalists were whittled down from more than 100,000 spellers who took part in school competitions.

I've always been really jealous of people who get trophies, and now I've won the Hard Spell trophy
Gayathri Kumar
Gayathri told BBC Breakfast on Monday: "I'm quite surprised that I won, I am really happy and elated.

"I didn't expect to get this far, I thought I'd just make a careless mistake, and that would be it."

Gayathri, a pupil at Merchant Taylor School for Girls, has won a holiday of her choice, 5,000 of media equipment for her school and the Hard Spell trophy.

The teenager says she was helped by her father Suresh Panikker to prepare for the competition and made sure she was not caught out by learning plant, food and medical terms.

Gayathri kept a file of spellings which she carried with her at all times, for quick revision.

GAYATHRI'S WINNING WORDS
Reimburse
Nyctophobia
Genealogical
Graffiti
Dromedary
Metamorphosis
Troglodyte
Deciduous
Resuscitate
Subpoena
Grammatical
Eamonn Holmes presented the television contest, with the words read to contestants by an announcer.

The spellers repeated the word back to make sure they had heard it correctly, before spelling it out and repeating it again to show they had finished.

They were also allowed to ask for a definition.

She said: "I really wanted to win Hard Spell because I know it would make my dad really proud and I'd like to go on holiday somewhere like Russia or Brazil.

"I've always been really jealous of people who get trophies, and now I've won the Hard Spell trophy."

The idea for the competition came from the Oscar-nominated film Spellbound - a documentary which followed competitors in the annual Spelling Bee contest in America.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
What it takes to be Britain's best young wordsmith



SEE ALSO:
Quiz: Spelling is not child's play
02 Dec 04 |  Magazine
Exam spelling could be reviewed
01 Dec 04 |  Education
Bringing mistakes to book
29 Oct 02 |  UK News


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