A webcam captured the reaction of Vihaan Sibal, 12, who admits he “was in shock for a little bit” after he spelled the word neurasthenia correctly Tuesday to advance to the semi-finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A webcam captured the reaction of Vihaan Sibal, 12, who admits he “was in shock for a little bit” after he spelled the word neurasthenia correctly Tuesday to advance to the semi-finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Vihaan, an incoming seventh grader at Midway Middle School in Hewitt, calmly nailed the 12-letter word, which was once used to refer to a vague medical condition involving fatigue, headache and irritability associated with emotional disturbances.
When he was told he spelled the word right, his jaw dropped.
“I was in shock for a little bit,” he said with a smile.
With the win, he advanced from a group of 209 competitors to join the top 30 spellers in the nation.
It’s been a different experience this year for the seasoned speller, who advanced in 2018 and 2020 to the national spelling bee.
Because of COVID-19, Vihaan has been participating virtually this year, with a proctor at his home to make sure he follows the rules.
“It’s a lot different but it made the preliminaries a lot easier because in 2018 there was a test which was a lot harder but again there is nothing like competing on the stage in front of people,” he said.
In 2018 Vihaan became the youngest competitor to ever win the Central Texas Spelling Bee.
As a third grader, he went more than 40 rounds before spelling visceral and commensurate to advance.
Vihaan’s mom, Shruti, says he has put in lots of work over the years to make it this far.
“He studies around 30 minutes every day to get ready and he’s an avid reader,” she said.
“My goal is I want to make it to the finals and that’s my only goal,” Vihaan said.
“Maybe next year it’ll be to place well in the finals but this year I just want to make it there.”
Vihaan will compete virtually in the semifinal round on June 27, which will be broadcast on ESPN 2 and ESPN U from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The finals will be held in person on July 8 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney Resort.
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