London: A 10-year-old Indian-origin girl has been crowned as Britain’s brightest child after she won a popular television quiz competition in the UK.
Rhea shot ahead in yesterday’s final of ‘Child Genius 2016’ on Channel 4 with six correct answers and then drew equal with her opponent Saffy on nine points as they entered the final head-to-head question round.
Rhea, who moved to the UK with her family from the US six years ago and now lives in west London, correctly spelled the word “eleemosynary”, meaning relating to charity, to claim the title at the end of four weeks of tough question rounds.
“It’s meant getting up early, going to sleep late, studying. It just feels really, really great,” Rhea said after her win.
Her mother Sonal, who gave up her job as an obstetrician to train Rhea, had stepped in to contest an incorrect answer that she had given during her specialist subject round on Florence Nightingale’s influence on military and healthcare reform.
Independent adjudicator Olivia van der Werff agreed the question had been too general and accepted Rhea’s answer of Dr Duncan Menzies to the question: “To which medical officer did Florence Nightingale report to in the Crimea?” It meant that Rhea avoided a tie-break with Birmingham-born Stephen, who was ranked third, with Saffy and Rhea securing their place in the final.
The move triggered some social media backlash against Sonal, who was branded as too “pushy”.
One Twitter comment read: “Rhea is such a smart young lady but her mother is shocking! This isn’t about you…” “Rhea’s parents are ridiculously pushy, poor kid,” read another tweet.
Earlier, Sonal had rejected concerns that programmes such as ‘Child Genius’ can put too much pressure on youngsters.
“Rhea loved doing it. The show gives them a chance to be with kids like them, to be in that room and feel normal,” she said.
The quiz show is hosted by Richard Osman, who described this year’s show as “the greatest final in the history of Child Genius”.