CHALLENGING: Children spell words even adults find difficulty getting right
KUANTAN: IT may be hard to hold the attention of nearly 150 restless children. But 13-year-old Ahmad Suhail Ahmad Nizam did just that when he spelled the world's longest word to launch the fifth season of the RHB New Straits Times National Spell-It-Right Challenge at Kuantan Parade here yesterday.
With the confidence of having gone through the process, Ahmad Suhail was the state's primary champion last year, he calmly spelled "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis", which refers to a lung disease caused by silica dust, to the disbelief of his audience.
The primary school contestants taking part in the Pahang state round this year gave a huge round of applause when presenter Wan Zaleha Radzi announced that he was correct.
The launch, which was attended by New Straits Times Press' group managing editor Abdul Jalil Hamid and RHB Banking Group's group managing director Kellee Kam, signalled the start of this year's competition.
"We're very excited about the contest -- we've seen it grow and get more challenging every year.
"It's a joy to watch our children competing to spell words that even adults would find some difficulty getting right," said Kam.
"The SIR Challenge is in line with NST's aim of enhancing the command of English, especially among our primary and secondary school students.
"The contest has grown bigger and better in the five years of its existence and I would like to thank our sponsor RHB, the teachers, parents and students who have made this a successful national event," said Jalil.
The SIR Challenge is an annual spelling competition that sees children from primary and secondary schools nationwide vie for the title of champion speller.
Contestants at the state level compete for the top five cash prizes of RM2,000 to RM500 at the primary level and RM3,000 to RM1,000 at the secondary one.
In addition to that, an additional 10 entrants will also each get a consolation prize of RM100 (primary category) and RM200 (secondary category).
The first-placed primary and secondary school winners will represent their state at the National Challenge in Kuala Lumpur, where they will compete for the honour of champion speller and the grand prizes of RM10,000 (primary) and RM15,000 (secondary).
Eight pre-recorded television episodes of the competition are scheduled to be aired on TV3 in September.