Houston teen wins 2015 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee


Shourav Dasari correctly spelled the word “Psocoptera” (an order of insects including booklice) during the 2015 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee finals to clinch the title of national champion and took home a cash prize of $10,000 from MetLife

During the MetLife event on Aug.14, which was taped live for broadcast on Sony Entertainment Television, Shourav along with 23 other finalists competed for the title.

Jairam Hathwar from Painted Post New York was the National 1st Runners Up, while Siyona Mishra of Florida and Smrithi Upadyayula of Texas were National  2nd runners up.

The event was organized by the South Asian advertising firm Touchdown Media Inc. and sponsored by MetLife, a leading global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Sony Entertainment Television was the exclusive rights holder and broadcast the event across the globe in over 119 countries.

Food major Kawan Food returned as Powered by sponsor and this year leading brand Britannia joined up as presenting sponsor for its fondly known as the Gold Standard in Spelling Bees.

“On behalf of MetLife, I’m pleased to congratulate Shourav, Jairam, Siyona and Smrithi, and all the contestants who took part in this year’s competition on a job well done,” said Laurel Daring, assistant vice president, Diverse Markets, MetLife Premier Client Group. “In cities across the country, our financial professionals are part of the fabric of their local South Asian communities, and this event provides a wonderful opportunity for all of us to give back.”

The special guest at the finals was Gokul Venkatachalam, the 2014 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee National Champion and 2014 Scripps National Co-champion, who helped co-host a portion of the event.

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 center Charlotte.

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.

After registering their child online, 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.

“We are extremely happy with Shourav’s win at the Bee as it goes to show that todays South Asian kids are all rounders and highly dedicated to their craft. We produced a special secton called “Meet the Spellers where the viewers will have an opportunity to get to know some of the spellers including Shourav better,” said Tim Tan, Managing Director, Kawan Food, makers of the world’s most popular Roti Paratha Brand in the world – Kawan Paratha.

“Nail Biting contest year after year and I personally was unable to get up during the bee! It’s amazing to see the pool of talent from our community and am happy for Shourav’s win and excited to get to know him and some of the other spellers better in the “Meet the Speller” series airing shortly on Sony,” said Jaideep Janakiram, Head of North America, Sony Entertainment Television-Asia.

Children up to 14 years of age were eligible to participate and the contest saw spellers of even 6 years of age compete and make it past a few rounds. Registration for 2016 will open in October this year and for more information and to register your child, please visit www.SouthAsianSpellingBee.com.