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Narahari Bharadwaj Wins 2011 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee

Press Release

Narahari Bharadwaj of Plano, TX, correctly spelled the word ‘schindylesis’ during the 2011 South Asian Spelling Bee Finals to clinch the title of National Champion. During the event on August 12, which was taped live for broadcast on Sony Entertainment Television, Narahari Bharadwaj along with 19 other finalists competed for the title. Stuti Mishra from West Melbourne, FL was the first runner-up and Chetan Reddy from Plano, TX was the second runner-up.

Twenty top spellers from the 10 regional centers gathered at the Rutgers College Auditorium to battle it out for the title of champion and a $10,000 prize. It took spelling words like logaoedic, justaucorps and phthirophagous for the winner to emerge.

The event was organized by leading South Asian advertising firm, Touchdown Media Inc. and sponsored by MetLife, a leading provider of insurance, employee benefits and other financial services. Sony Entertainment Television is the exclusive rights holder and will be broadcasting the event across the globe in over 119 countries.

“Its heartwarming to see such talent year after year. Heartiest congratulations to Narahari and all the spellers”, says Rahul Walia, CEO, Touchdown Media Inc. and founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee.

He also adds “This is a great platform that helps children showcase their talent, hone their skill and inculcate a sense of discipline and discipline that will help in their overall development. I urge parents to take advantage of this unique contest next year.”

The special guest at the Finals was Sukanya Roy, 2010 South Asian Spelling Bee runner-up and 2011 Scripps National Champion, who helped co-host a portion of the event.

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula also graced the event with his presence and shared his words of encouragement with the spellers and parents.

The champion received a $10,000 grand prize from MetLife along with the South Asian Spelling Bee trophy.

“MetLife congratulates all of the families who participated in the 2011 South Asian Spelling Bee,” says Laurel Daring, assistant vice president of Marketing at MetLife. “It was an honor to serve as the title sponsor for the third year, and to help families enjoy a fun event while learning how to cover the rising costs education."

The event was open to children up to 14 years of age and was held in 10 regional centers across the United States. These areas included, New Jersey, DC Metro area, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, New York, Boston, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. The contest was conducted in written and oral format at the regional levels which served as the elimination as well as selection process for the finalists.

Jaideep Janakiram, Head – North America, SET Asia commented, “Over the past four years, South Asian Spelling Bee has been consistently making a positive impact amongst the youth across the US. Sony Entertainment Television Asia is pleased to have been associated with this initiative from the beginning and to be able to broadcast this exciting event to all its viewers around the globe.”

After registering their child online at www.southasianspellingbee.com, parents brought them to the designated center and a 25 word written test was administered. Children had to spell 15 or more words correctly to qualify for the afternoon oral round and from there the top three were awarded prize money and the top two qualified for the Finals.

From each of these centers, the finalists along with a parent were invited on an all expenses paid trip to the finals in NJ. Overall about 550 children registered to spell amongst all the centers.

The contest will be conducted annually in the June and July months and the 2012 schedule will be announced in October this year. For more information and to keep abreast with the upcoming events, log onto www.southasianspellingbee.com.

About MetLife:
MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), the leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 60 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, please visit www.metlife.com.

About Sony Entertainment Television:
Since its launch on the Indian subcontinent in 1995, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has enjoyed rapid success, leading to the establishment of European, North American and African feeds known as SET Asia. SET and SET Asia are now available in over 150 countries. The channels offer their viewers a distinctive blend of entertainment programs twenty-four hours a day, including, soap operas, dramas, sitcoms, concerts, movies, and game shows. For more information, visit www.setasia.tv.

About Touchdown Media Inc.:
Touchdown Media Inc., is a specialized South Asian advertising and promotions firm based in New Jersey. Now in its 8th successful year, Touchdown has helped clients - both mainstream and otherwise, to reach out to the lucrative South Asian market, Touchdown Media represents more than 25 years of collective experience in this niche market. As a full service ad firm, Touchdown has helped many clients achieve their media and marketing goals within the South Asian Diaspora in the US.

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