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South Bay Twins Prepare For Separate Academic Competitions

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- As KPIX 5 gets ready to host the CBS Bay Area Spelling Bee for the fifth year in a row this Saturday, we spoke with twin brothers in the South Bay who have very different goals of becoming champions.

Amith Vasantha focuses on each W-O-R-D.

"I became interested in the English language, like how words were constructed," said Amith.

His brother, Rohit studies the W-O-R-L-D.

"You learn more things and you understand how countries can become powerful," said Rohit.

The 13-year-old fraternal twins are seventh graders at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley in San Jose with impressive accomplishments.

For the last three years, Amith has placed in the top ten at the CBS Bay Area Spelling Bee.

But this year he's hoping to take the top prize: a trip to the Scripps National Bee.

Amith is so determined to win he even turned down the chance to advance in a regional chemistry challenge because it happened at the same time as the spelling bee qualifying test.

"I've always wanted to go to Washington, D.C., the national spelling bee, because I've read so much about it," Amith explained.

Meanwhile, Rohit is headed to the state Geography Bee for the second straight year.

They may study side-by-side, but they also compete, face-to-face.

"He asks me spelling words, I ask him geography questions. We try to see if we can answer it," Rohit chuckled. "Then whoever wins that will officially be declared as smart in that subject."

In one exchange, Rohit quizzed Amith, "What's the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan?" And when Amith answered correctly, Rohit said, "I told you that's how you know that."

Their friendly rivalry could take an interesting turn, because Amith said he's considering challenging his brother next year in the geography bee.

"It might inspire me to get better, read more, and beat him," Rohit mused.

But for now, the brothers are the other's biggest fans.

They sit in the audience at each other's contests.

"I want him to be able to succeed," said Amith.

"When I see him there, it kind of tells me that he's there and he actually believes I can do it," Rohit said.

And with tough competition in spelling and in geography, the support they give each other makes the twins feel like winners whether they earn a medal or not.

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