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Photo finish at Spellbee

When Pratyush Ghosh, a Class IX student of Campion School, Mumbai, got all his spellings right in the penultimate round, most people in the audience thought he had sealed the winners’ spot at the Spellinc national finale. But the best was yet to come!

In the next few minutes, Olana Marie Peters of La Martiniere for Girls took it all away from Mumbai and went on to win the first Spellinc All India Inter-School Spelling Competition presented by Linc Pen & Plastics Ltd and Renault. “It was a good competition, there were quite a few toughies,” said the Class X student.

Olana’s partner at Spellinc and classmate Roshni Chakraborty was all praise for her. “We almost didn’t get it. The team from Mumbai was very good. But Olana saw us through.”

The Campion boys finished a close second, followed by the team from The Oxford Senior Secondary School (Bangalore). The other finalists were Don Bosco School (Chennai), Sacred Heart School (Ranchi), Gulmohur School (Jamshedpur), Rachana School (Ahmedabad) and St. Peter’s School (New Delhi). The winners were given gold, silver and bronze medals along with certificates and gift cheques worth Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively.

As Spellinc turned 15 this year, Deepak Jalan, managing director of Linc Pen & Plastics Ltd, looked back to the early days. “When we started so many years back, there were a lot of quiz competitions at the school level. But there weren’t many spellbees. In the first year, only 50 schools in and around Calcutta signed up. Over the years numbers have grown. This year we have five lakh students from 1,000 schools across eight Indian cities competing. This was the first national finale and we aim to have many more.”

Sumit Sahani, the CEO of Renault, said he decided to tie up for the event after a chance meeting with Jalan on a flight. “We decided to do something together and that is how Spellinc happened. Renault has also decided to pay the school fees for the winners of the national title for one whole academic year.”