Indian American kids are world geography champs

Washington, Aug 9 (IANS) A team of three bright young Indian American students beat out teams from 17 other regions to win top honours at the 11th National Geographic World Championship in Russia's St. Petersburg city.

The US team composed entirely of Indian American kids soared ahead of second place Canada, which was up against third-place India in a tense tiebreaker round in the July 31 final, California based ethnic weekly India West reported.

The team was made up of captain Gopi Ramanathan, 15, from Sartell, Minnesota; Asha Jain, 13, from Minocqua, Wisconsin; and Neelam Kaur Sandhu, 14, from Bedford, New Hampshire.

In the biennial competition, teams of students answered questions on physical, cultural and economic geography.

The Indian-American trio won by correctly identifying a country whose flag has six small stars representing the mainland and its five offshore islands. The answer was Equatorial Guinea.

"I'm still trying to process it and what that means," Ramanathan was quoted as telling his local newspaper the St. Cloud Times.

"It (the world competition) is different from any other geo bee I've been in. It was very fun."

Ramanathan, who has won his state geography bee twice already, finished seventh in the 2012 National Bee in Washington, DC.

"I was kind of surprised that they asked me to do it," he told the St. Cloud Times.

"I thought it was odd because it had been a year since I last competed in a geo bee, but I was happy to be selected."

Students around the world earned the chance to be part of the World Championship competition by winning or being a top finisher in the national competitions of their home regions.

The 15 other teams competing were from Australia, Bulgaria, China, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Britain. Indonesia and Mongolia participated for the first time this year.

The competition was sponsored by Google, and presented by the US National Geographic Society in partnership with the Russian Geographical Society.

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