Japan's speed-eating king arrested at NYC contest

Mon Jul 5, 2010 8:08am EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Japanese competitive-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi was arrested on Sunday after trying to upstage an annual hotdog-eating contest in New York.

The rake-thin 32-year-old, who was not a competitor in this year's event, scuffled with police moments after Joey "Jaws" Chestnut won the competition, Japanese media reported on Monday.

Kobayashi, a former winner of the Coney Island competition, landed himself in a pickle after he climbed on to the stage.

Police dragged him off in handcuffs and into custody where he was charged with resisting arrest and trespassing, according to Japan's Nikkan Sports.

Chestnut powered to the title as expected in the feeding frenzy, munching through 54 hotdogs and buns -- 14 fewer than his record from last year.

Tim "Eater X" Janus finished runner-up behind the hot favorite after cramming down 45 while Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti took third by putting away 37.

As the crowd chanted "Let him eat!" Kobayashi added spice to proceedings by clambering onto the platform and clinging to the barricades before being hauled away.

Major League Eating Executive Director George Shea called Kobayashi's antics "inappropriate" but refused to be drawn on a possible punishment.

"None of it diminishes the fact that he is a great champion," Shea told local media. "The truth is ... the fans and Major League Eating want to resolve all of this and have him up there."

(Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo. Editing by Paul Casciato)