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Four zonal champions emerged from The Big Spell zonal battle

SINGAPORE, 14 April 2012 - For more than an hour, 108 pupils from 51 primary schools battled it out in the Zonal round of the inaugural RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship 2012 this morning.

The zonals took place simultaneously at four different locations - Singapore Sports School (North zone), Anglo-Chinese School (South zone), Ngee Ann Secondary (East zone) and Millennia Institute (West zone), where the contestants tried to out-spell each other to secure a place in the Grand Finals on April 28.

Unlike the preliminary round in which about 1,200 students sat for a written test at the Raffles City Convention Centre, the pupils competing in today's zonals slugged it out on stage, facing an audience and a judging panel, with each taking turns to spell aloud the words read to them by a pronouncer.

The four zonal champions who emerged from the nail-biting battle were:

-North zone: Wong Yi Hao, Rosyth School

-South zone: Ashvin Sivakumar, Anglo-Chinese School (Primary)

-East zone: Joshua Leow Yan Rong, Tao Nan School

-West zone: Nandana Jayachandran, Bukit View Primary School

Ms Serene Goh, Editor of IN and Little Red Dot, The Straits Times' weekly publications for schools, said: "That is some effort these pupils put into the Zonals -- the competition was ferocious! I'm just so impressed with how broadly they must have studied, and from the number of supporters today, I'm sure their entire families helped them prepare. If today's show is any indication, the finals will be truly spectacular."

Madam Norazzah Sulaiman, RHB Banking Group’s Director of Group Corporate Services, said: “The challenge has almost come to an end. We hope everyone has not only gained a wealth of experience but also, this should serve as a platform for the students to build their self-esteem, confidence and competitive spirit. Congratulations and good luck to the zonal representatives. We are excited to witness the final battle come 28 April!”

The zonal champions, along with other finalists with the best zonal scores, will fight for spelling supremacy in the final round on April 28 at Raffles City Convention Centre.

Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Madam Halimah Yacob, will be the guest-of-honour at the finals.

The champion speller will take home $5,000 cash and win for his or her school the Challenge Trophy. The first and second runners-up will win $3,000 and $1,000 cash respectively. All finalists will each get a medal.

The organisers hope the contest will develop a greater appreciation of the importance of spelling in literacy development among primary school pupils, as well as help to promote a healthy competitive spirit.

The Spelling Championships is organised in partnership with the Ministry of Education and supported by the National Library Board and the Speak Good English Movement.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E

For more information, please contact:

Andrea Thum (Ms)
Assistant Manager
Editorial Projects Unit
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: 6319 1016

Khalid Khamis (Mr)
Assistant Manager
Editorial Projects Unit
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: 6319 5669

Gary Yeo (Mr)
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: 6319 1225


About The Straits Times

The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of SPH, has been serving readers for more than a century. Launched on July 15, 1845, its comprehensive coverage of world news, East Asian news, Southeast Asian news, home news, sports news, financial news and lifestyle updates makes The Straits Times the most-read newspaper in Singapore.

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About RHB Bank Singapore
Established in 1961, RHB Bank Singapore is a full-licensed bank with a network of 7 branches situated in various locations. It also operates 15 Bureau de Change outlets in Singapore Changi Airport. The Bank provides a comprehensive range of financial products and services to consumer, corporate and commercial clients, ranging from various types of deposits and loans, treasury to investment banking.
RHB Bank Singapore is the first full bank to be conferred the prestigious S-Class (Service Class) award by SPRING Singapore as well as the first and only bank in Singapore and Malaysia to be awarded the prestigious “Best Customer Experience Management of the Year Award” in banking service by APCSC Hong Kong and most recently, awarded the SQC (Singapore Quality Class) by SPRING Singapore in June 2010.
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About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

Main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Southeast Asia's leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms. It publishes 18 newspaper titles in four languages and over 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region. On an average day, – 2.92 million individuals or 74 percent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH’s news publications. SPH’s internet editions of its major newspapers enjoy over 330 million page views with 18 million unique visitors each month. Other new media initiatives include AsiaOne,, ST701, Stomp and The Straits Times RazorTV. SPH has also ventured into book publishing, broadcasting, out-of-home advertising and properties.