The 2017 South Asian Spelling Bee Bay Area & Dallas winners announced

From Left: Rahul Walia, Founder of South Asian Spelling Bee, Bay Area Winners Emaad Sohail (Second Runner Up), Rutvik Gandhasri (Regional Champion) and Rishik Gandhasri (First Runner Up).

Continuing it’s quest for the best speller in the community, the 2017 South Asian Spelling Bee ( traveled to California last week and Texas this past weekend with stops in the Bay Area and Dallas.

With a huge turnout this year as well, the Bee attracted some top talent as well as young and new spellers that competed for the coveted prizes and titles.

In the Bay Area Regional, Rutvik Gandhasri (13) of San Jose, California was the regional champ, Rishik Gandhasri (11) of San Jose, California, was the first runner up, and Emaad Sohail (12) of Bakersfield, California, was second runner up.

From Left, Dallas Winners Pavani Chittemsetty (First Runner Up), Abhijay Kodali (First Runner Up) and Pranav Chemudupaty (Regional Champion), Rahul Walia Founder of South Asian Spelling Bee.

At a hotly contested Bee in Dallas, Pranav Chemudupaty (13) from Pearland, Texas bagged the regional champ, and for the first time in be South Asian Spelling Bee history Pavani Chittemsetty (11) from Bentonville, Arkansas and Abhijay Kodali (10) from Highland Village, Texas were declared co-first runner-ups.

The initiative is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and is open to children of South Asian descent up to 14 years of age. The aim is to give South Asian children a chance to test their spelling skills in their core peer group while also learning crucial life skills that contribute to the overall development of the speller.

Organized by Touchdown Media Inc., the South Asian Spelling Bee was held in 8 locations across the United States. Apart from Bay Area, and Dallas regional centers include Chicago, Seattle, Washington, D.C. Metro, Charlotte, Boston, and New Jersey. All events will be free to attend and open to the public. An international regional in Accra, Ghana was conducted earlier this year, from where spellers of South Asian descent will qualify for the finals.

“For the past nine years, the Bee has consistently provided a firm platform for the community to come together and hone their craft. It’s become a family activity that contributes towards the overall development of the child. We are proud to enter our Tenth consecutive year and look forward to engaging some of these wonderful spellers,” said Rahul Walia, founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee and CEO of Touchdown Media Inc.

The top two spellers of each regional competition will advance to the finals to be held in New Jersey in August. Champion’s grand prize of $3,000 will be awarded to the winner at the finals.

This year again, the Bee is proudly powered by Kawan – the world’s most popular Roti paratha brand returns as the powered by sponsor and as always, SONY Entertainment Television Asia is the exclusive broadcast partner for the South Asian Spelling Bee and will be airing the series across 120 countries.

“Kawan is proud to return as a sponsor and we have tremendous faith in contributing towards crucial family time for the community. We look forward to getting to know the spellers and their families through this wonderful journey,” said Tim Tan, Managing Director Kawan Food.

“Year over year, the South Asian Spelling Bee has made for great programing that gels with our ethos of compete family entertainment. We are all about family values and encourage platforms such as these that highlight the talent of our community,” said Jaideep Janakiram, Head of North America, Sony Entertainment Television-Asia.

For a complete schedule, registration and any other information, please visit:

Find us on Facebook at South Asian Spelling Bee and you can follow us on our Twitter handle at Spell South Asian.

About Sony Entertainment Television Asia:
Since its launch on the Indian subcontinent in 1995, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has enjoyed rapid success, leading to the establishment of European, North American and African feeds known as SET Asia. SET and SET Asia are now available in over 150 countries. The channels offer their viewers a distinctive blend of entertainment programs twenty-four hours a day, including, soap operas, dramas, sitcoms, concerts, movies, and game shows. For more information, visit

About Touchdown Media Inc.:
Touchdown Media Inc. is a specialized South Asian advertising and promotions firm based in New Jersey. Now in its 11th successful year, Touchdown has helped clients- both mainstream and otherwise, reach out to the lucrative South Asian market, Touchdown Media represents more than 35 years of collective experience in this niche market. As a full service ad firm, Touchdown has helped many clients achieve their media and marketing goals within the South Asian Diaspora in the US.



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