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What it's like to be in the big leagues of the Scripps National Spelling Bee

VICE News followed along with 12-year-old Rishik Gandhasri as he chases the most sought-after title in the world of spelling: Scripps National Champion.

by Billie Brownstein
Jun 1 2018, 12:14am

If you keep up with the world of competitive spelling, you've probably noticed the 10-year winning streak of South Asian–American competitors. Kids from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have simply dominated the competition, and the South Asian Spelling Bee circuit has a lot to do with that.

Launched in 2008, the South Asian Spelling Bee is an elite circuit whose alumni have come to dominate the nation's most prestigious spelling competition.

Rahul Walia, founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee, told VICE News "the reason why South Asians have really taken to this is because it really touches all of the learning pillars that this community has grown up with, while lending itself to the edge of competition and sport. And if you're good at it, the spoils are phenomenal."

VICE News followed along with one of the circuit's most promising competitors, 12-year-old Rishik Gandhasri, as he chases the most sought-after title in the world of spelling: Scripps National Champion.

This segment originally aired May 31, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.