The 2016 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee Dallas & Houston Winners Announced


Houston Winner Pic: (from left): Rahul Walia, Shorauv Darsari, Abhirami Jeeyseelan, Raksheet Kota, Alex Iyer, and Syamantak Payra.

HOUSTON: Continuing its quest for the best speller in the community, the 2016 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee ( traveled to Texas this past weekend with stops in Dallas and Houston.

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 Dallas Regional, Ananya Kodali (14) of Highland Village, Texas was the regional champ, Rohan Rajeev (13) of Edmond, Oklahoma, was the first runner up, and , Smrithi Upadhyayula (14) of Coppell, Texas, was second runner up.

In Houston, Raksheet Kota (13) from Katy, Texas was named regional champ, Alex Iyer (13) from Hill, Texas was first runner up. Abhirami Jeeyseelan (13) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana second runner-up.


Dallas Winner Pic: (from left): Sandhya Sharma, Smrithi Upadhyayula, Ananya Kodali, Rohan Rajeev, Rahul Walia.

The event is open to children of South Asian descent up to 14 years of age. It will give South Asian children a chance to test their spelling skills in their core peer group. Interested spellers need their parent or guardian to register them online at

Organized by Touchdown Media Inc., the 2016 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee will be conducted in 12 locations across the United States starting on June 11. Regional level events will be held in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, D.C. Metro, New Jersey, New York and Boston. All events will be free to attend and open to the public. Accra, Ghana was announced as the 13th center from where spellers of South Asian descent will qualify for the finals.

“For the past eight 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 Ninth 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. Similar to previous years MetLife has once again funded the $10,000 champion’s grand prize that will be awarded to the winner at the finals.

This year, the Bee is proudly presented by Britannia – Britannia Industries Limited is India’s leading food company and marketer of cookies, dairy products and bread, while 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 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee and will be airing the series across 120 countries.

Britannia is extremely happy and excited to continue its association with this platform as a presenting sponsor. With its 120+ years of golden heritage of making healthy, fresh & delicious food, Britannia is a household name among South Asian consumers. This unique platform will help Britannia to reach out to Gen Z & showcase some of its popular brands like “Milk Bikis” and the new introduction, “Milk Bikis Creams” which are perfectly suited for the budding spellers.

“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 MetLife 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.