‘Jaws’ downs 72 hot­dogs in 10 min­utes to win US eat-fest

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Joey "Jaws" Ch­est­nut, a com­pet­i­tive eater, talks like any other ath­lete. Con­di­tion­ing is key for push­ing the body to its limit, the 33-year-old Cal­i­for­nian says. He cer­tainly stretched that limit on Tues­day, down­ing 72 hot dogs and buns in 10 min­utes at the an­nual wiener-eat­ing con­test on New York's Coney Is­land, a tra­di­tion that marks ev­ery In­de­pen­dence Day hol­i­day in the United States. Ch­est­nut won the com­pe­ti­tion for the 10th time and im­proved on the speedeat­ing tally he posted last sum­mer.

In the 2016 edi­tion of the eat-fest at the Nathan's Fa­mous beach­side hot dog stand-it be­gan way back in 1916 -- Ch­est­nut wolfed down 70 hot dogs and buns in 10 min­utes to win the ti­tle. His per­sonal record-and the world record-is 73.5 dogs and buns in 10 min­utes, but that came dur­ing a qual­i­fy­ing round rather than an ac­tual con­test. Af­ter Tues­day's vic­tory, or­ga­nizer Ge­orge Shea praised Ch­est­nut as if he were a war­rior re­turn­ing from a dis­tant bat­tle­field.

"He is an Amer­i­can hero. He stands as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of free­dom, of the Amer­i­can ideal," said Shea to the 30,000 peo­ple who turned out to watch the com­pe­ti­tion. Ch­est­nut spoke of him­self in more mea­sured lan­guage. "I am just a goofy dude who likes to eat. I am a lucky guy, to travel around the world and eat and make peo­ple smile," he told re­porters. And Ch­est­nut-who be­gan eat­ing com­pet­i­tively in 2005 in an as­para­gus-munch­ing con­test-does in fact want to get bet­ter for next year.

"I need to work on my con­di­tion so I don't sweat as much, be­cause it slowed me down. I'll fig­ure it out. I'll make my body work bet­ter. I have to fig­ure out my body so I can push it to the ab­so­lute limit," said Ch­est­nut. Amer­ica is fa­mously fat, with obe­sity af­fected some one in three adults. So the hot dog con­test is per­haps not a great ex­am­ple of healthy habits. Nor is it easy to watch. The rules al­low the 18 com­peti­tors to soak their hot dogs and buns in wa­ter to make them eas­ier to choke them down. Us­ing their fin­gers, they slammed the frank­furters back into their mouths and leaned their heads back to help the food ooze its way south.

Be­sides the 30,000 on hand to watch the event, many more took in the spec­ta­cle on TV. Sports net­work ESPN car­ried it live for the 11th straight year. The event is over­seen by a fed­er­a­tion called Ma­jor League Eat­ing, which holds about 80 such com­pe­ti­tions each year in a sea­son that runs from Fe­bru­ary to Septem­ber. There are sep­a­rate bouts for men and women. Tues­day's fe­male win­ner was Miki Sudo, who ate 41 hot dogs and buns in 10 min­utes. — AFP

Women com­pete dur­ing Nathan's Fa­mous Hot­dog eat­ing con­test Tues­day in Brook­lyn, New York.

Joey Ch­est­nut, left, and Matt Stonie com­pete in the Nathan's Fa­mous Hot­dog eat­ing con­test Tues­day in Brook­lyn, New York. — AP photos

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