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US boy clinches Spelling Bee tiebreaker with ‘abseil’

Mastering words such as “cricetine” and “indumentum”, 12-year-old Bruhat Soma clinched victory in the United States’ spelling bee.

The student from St Petersburg, Florida, beamed as colourful confetti rained down after he won the tiebreaker.

“Bruhat Soma from Florida cemented his win by correctly spelling his final word, ‘abseil’,” organiser Scripps National Spelling Bee announced on X.

Bruhat, who also competed in the past two annual competitions, will take home a $50,000 (€46k) prize and a championship trophy.

“I never expected this,” he said at a news conference after his win, quoted by The Washington Post.

He told reporters that there was only one word he did not recognise – but luckily it wasn’t his turn.

Bruhat correctly spelled 29 words in 90 seconds during the competition’s second-ever “Spell-off” tiebreaker, US media reported.

Such success was enough to see Bruhat put 12-year-old Faizan Zaki from Dallas, Texas, in second place.

In the “spell-off” contestants must spell as many words as possible within the 90 second timeframe.

In earlier rounds, Bruhat correctly spelled ten words right, including “coulisse” – defined as a backstage area – and the Dutch town Hoofddorp.

Bruhat will take home a $50,000 prize and a championship trophy.

In addition to spelling words correctly, he helped secure his victory with accurate definitions of a “troglodyte” – a primitive cave dweller – and “sine qua non” – something considered essential.

Children have participated in US classroom, school and regional spelling bees in hopes of making it to the national contest since 1925, according to Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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