MELBOURNE: Four Indian-origin children, including 8-year-old twins, are among the top 50 finalists of the Great Australian Spelling Bee contest.
The finalists were picked from over 3,000 children across Australia who had applied to be part of the upcoming TV show of Channel Ten to be aired on August 3.
Anirudh Kathirvel, 9, twins Harpita and Harpith, 8, and Tej, 9, will compete the final round of the contest.
Harpith and Harpita, whose parents are from Tamil Nadu said they found the contest very challenging.
There were three stages to pass before reaching the final. The first stage had three on-line tests — spelling, grammar and comprehension. Second stage was a Skype interview and a spelling test. The third stage was a live audition and a spelling test.
The twins said they did not take any special training for the contest.
“We didn’t take any special training for the competition but we have been learning lots of words together. We play word games on iPad with our dad and mum after dinner time everyday since we were 4-years-old,” they said.
Anirudh, whose parents also migrated to Australia from Tamil Nadu over a decade back, 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.”
“Initially I went to the local spelling competitions to observe. 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,” Anirudh, who wants to be neuroscienst, said.
Harpita said her favourite word to spell was Cafune, a word of Brazilian Portuguese origin which means act of running fingers through a loved one’s hair.
And Harpith’s favourite word was ‘Floccinaucinihilipilification’, one of the longest words in the English language it means the action or habit of estimating something as worthless.