A 14-year-old eighth-grader from New Jersey won the 2015 National Geographic Bee on Wednesday by correctly identifying the Congo River as the site of the Grand Inga Dam.
Karan Menon of Edison, New Jersey, defeated 54 of the United States’ top fourth- through eighth-grade geography whizzes to win a $US50,000 scholarship and other prizes.
Second place and a $US25,000 scholarship went to Shriya Yarlagadda, 11, of Grand Blanc, Michigan. Third-place finisher Sojas Wagle, an eighth-grader from Springdale, Arkansas, won a $US10,000 scholarship.
This year’s competition, moderated by television journalist Soledad O’Brien was a cliff-hanger, with Shriya leading for most of the competition.
Karan pulled ahead by one point after explaining why Sapporo, Japan, site of the 1972 Winter Olympics, would be a better location for a ski resort than Beijing or Darjeeling, India.
Karan called the national championship the high point of his lifetime achievements.
“You get to explore all the world by just sitting at a table at home,” he said after the competition to explain his love of geography.
Asked about his career plans, he said: “I have no idea. I have four more years to go (before high school graduation) and I’ll decide then.”
The finalists beat out nearly 4 million students in their age group who competed in local competitions before rising to the national bee. Many of them are contest winners in mathematics, science and spelling.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson)
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