Udayavni Special

Kundapur origin sisters face off in Regional Spelling Bee, eldest wins


Team Udayavani, Mar 27, 2021, 9:43 AM IST

Kundapur: The two finalists at this year’s Columbia Missourian Regional Spelling Bee were two sisters, a native of Kundapur’s Amparu village.

Jiya Shetty, 14, won the regional competition and has been selected to contest in the national level.

It is gathered that Jiya Shetty won last year’s regional competition as well and was supposed to go to the national contest. However, the same was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic situation.

This year Jiya stood next to a familiar face, Aanya Shetty, 10, her sister when it came down to the final rounds.

Aanya, who also competed in last year’s competition, faced off against her elder sister and 13 other spellers at MU’s Reynolds Journalism Institute. However, as the number grew fewer and fewer, Aanya and Jiya still remained.

At the end of the competition, it was Jiya holding the trophy once again. She explained that training for spelling competitions is a lot of work but starts with just surrounding yourself with different words.

Jiya will have more competition ahead of her. Now she moves on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Initial rounds will be held virtually. Once the field of spellers gets down between 10-12 competitors, the finalists will move on to the in-person rounds on July 8 in Orlando.

“A lot of the words I just picked up through reading but also if you’re just going to a restaurant there’s a lot of names of dishes and other stuff like that,” said Jiya.

“We’re not that far apart in age. And also we do a lot of the same things. It’s kinda like who’s better at it. I started reading big chapter books at a very young age. I read Harry Potter in kindergarten. I began to read more complex books,” said Aanya.

“The competition isn’t between them. They don’t compete against each other, they compete against themselves,” said the girls’ mother, Charita Shetty.

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