SA Spelling Winner

Sohum Sukhatankar (front row, left) was the winner of the 2018 South Asian Spelling Bee, besting the second-place finisher Abhijay Kodali (front row, right), to claim the win. Also seen here are (from left) Sony Entertainment Television-Asia North American head Jaideep Janakiram, Sukhantankar’s father, Kodali’s father, and bee founder Rahul Walia. (photo provided)

Sohum Sukhatankar was crowned the winner of the 2018 South Asian Spelling Bee.

The young Indian American boy, from Dallas, Texas, by correctly spelling the word “Dasyuridae” – a family of polyprotodont marsupials that includes the native cats, pouched mice, banded anteater, Tasmanian devil and related forms – won the championship, which also provided him a cash prize of $3,000.

Abhijay Kodali, of Flower Mound, Texas, was the runner-up at the championship event, which was held Aug. 2.

The South Asian Spelling Bee celebrated a decade of bees, which included some special guests at the finals such as 2017 South Asian Spelling Bee champion Sravanth Malla and 2014 champion Gokul Venkatachalam.

“It fills my heart to see such talented young spellers from across the country who make us proud as a community. The initiative is unique in its reach and engagement and this year with the introduction of the SAS-Bee program we were able to give even more spellers the opportunity to win it all and raise the bar even higher. My heartiest congratulations to the winner,” said spelling bee founder Rahul Walia.

The initiative was open to children up to 14 years of age and was held in seven regional centers across the United States, including New Jersey; the Washington, D.C., Metro area; Dallas, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Charlotte, and the returning international center in Ghana.

Over 600 spellers from these centers participated from which 24 finalists were selected for the finals.

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 2019 will open in October this year and for more information and to register your child, visit

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