SPELLING CHAMPS: Ryan and Bryan did their school proud by nailing the Kedah finals
HAVING little time to prepare did not stop Ryan Ng Tung Chan from becoming the Kedah primary champion at the RHB New Straits Times National Spell-It-Right (SIR) Challenge yesterday.
And having his younger brother Bryan Ng Tung Chen in second place made the victory sweeter.
While Ryan, 12, was visibly tense all day, Bryan, 10, was a picture of calm at Dewan Dato Syed Omar here.
"We're really happy to have made it this far. I didn't dare expect anything, I had only hoped to do well," said Ryan, of SJK (C) Sin Min A.
He nailed two of his final round words -- "caucus" and "metronome" -- to enter a four-way tiebreaker for the top four spots. He secured his win when he correctly spelled "impediment" in the tiebreakers.
Ryan will be heading to the nationals in Kuala Lumpur on July 14. He hopes to improve on last year's fourth placing at the national SIR stage.
Bryan, who had "whet" and "synopsis" right in the finals, landed in second place when he got "putrefaction" correct in the tiebreaker rounds.
"We'll be donating part of our winnings to the temple and give some to our grandmother."
Ryan won RM2,000 while Bryan received RM1,500.
SJK (C) Sin Min A did well yesterday when seven of its pupils made it to the state finals. While the brothers took the top two spots, their schoolmate Daryl Choo Chia Ler, 11, came in fifth and went home with RM500.
Year Six pupils of SK Bandar Baru Sintok Aisyah Karina Abdul Kadir, 12, and Alia Nabila Mohd Shahiruakmal, 12, were the two finalists who entered the tiebreaker round with the Ng brothers.
Aisyah Karina emerged third place when she correctly spelled "analyse", while Alia Nabila tripped on "reverie" and won fourth place. They took home RM1,000 and RM800 respectively. Ten other finalists each won a RM100 consolation prize.
In Kota Baru, it was third time lucky for Muhammad Shaheer Mat Shayuti, who emerged as champion in the secondary school category of the challenge.
The third former from SMK Datuk Ahmad Maher defeated other older opponents to win the first prize of RM3,000 and represent the state at the national finals.
Shaheer, 15, who has taken part in SIR Challenge since he was 12, was the only participant who got all three words -- "molybdenum", "discontinuance" and "discourteous" -- correct in the finals.
The youngest of seven children attributed his victory to persistence.
"I was lucky that the words given to me were easy. I will work hard for the national finals."
Masturina Sahira Sukri, 16, of SMKA Naim Lilbanat was elated about winning second place and RM2,500.
"I was not well prepared as I had been busy with another competition. I only referred to my dictionary this morning."
Third place winner Ainil Asyikin Norazman of MRSM Pasir Tumbuh admitted to being nervous during the challenge.
"I could have spelt two words correctly (in the finals) but I stumbled on 'presumptuous'," said Ainil Asyikin, who went away with RM2,000.
The state rounds continue next week in Terengganu (July 6), Johor (July 7-8) and Kuala Lumpur (July 8).