British teenager is crowned world champion of Microsoft Word

Rob Waugh

It may not exactly be Olympic gold, but a British teenager beat 100 competitors from around the world to be crowned best on Earth at his chosen skill - Microsoft Word 2007.

Elite Microsoft Word users flexed their formatting toolbars in the official world championships for Microsoft Word in Washington D.C. this year - battling for glory, money, and things to put in the “skills” part of their CV.

A British teenager, Kieran Youngman, 17, walked off with the world championship for Microsoft Word 2007 - beating two competitors from Taiwan and the U.S. in a tense 55-minute challenge.

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“There’s no other way to prove that you know what you’re talking about in Microsoft Word,” Youngman said after his win. “It’s the only way you can show that, yeah, I’m good.”

Competitors “faced off” in a timed  task where they had to format Word documents against the clock. The final 100 elite Word users had been whittled down from more than 344,000 entrants from 90 countries.

Youngman, a student at Sawtry Community College won a $5,000 scholarship for his skills - and said that some friends and family “wouldn’t be surprised” by his victory.

“I can’t say what they’re going to think,” says Youngman. “A few will be surprised - but I’m going to be honest, a few won’t be surprised. It’s the second time someone from our school has won first prize.”

Youngman is confident that his gold medal will stand him in good stead in future - both at school and later in life.

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“Careerwise, it’ll show any employer I know how to use Microsoft Office products,” says Youngman. “I know them very well. With school, I can write reports - and if I need to do something fancy, I can do it.”

The competition, organised by Certiport, also had championships for Microsoft Word 2010, as well as Powerpoint and Excel. The competition is now in its twelfth year - with its elite competitors selected from the best scores at Microsoft’s Certification exams.

“More than 650,000 exams were uploaded as part of this competition, so these student winners are truly the best of the best at effectively using Microsoft Office tools,” said Alison Cunard, general manager for Microsoft Learning Experiences.