6 Jun 2010

NZ boy eliminated in spelling bee semi-finals

8:59 am on 6 June 2010

New Zealander Tom Winter is out of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, after stumbling over a word in the semi-finals.

The word? "Phytoplankter." The 13-year-old from Christchurch's Burnside High School misspelt it "phytoplanktor".

Still, though disappointed at first, he says, he's happy to have got that far in the competition - which he did by spelling, among other words, "liquefacient" and "xylophilous".

The eventual winner was Kavya Shivashankar, a 13-year-old Anmerican girl, who correctly spelt "Laodicean" to win.

One of 293 spellers at the start of the competition, Tom Winter says he studied a lot of words but it's impossible to learn all of them.

Tom's mother, Penny Olds, says he did very well just by getting that far in the competition and she's very proud of him.

A phytoplanker is a planktonic marine plant.