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Last Updated: Monday, 5 July, 2004, 01:22 GMT 02:22 UK
Japan speed-eater gobbles title
Japanese speed-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi
Mr Kobayashi broke hot dogs in half before wolfing them down
Takeru Kobayashi is not nicknamed "Tsunami" or "Big Wave" for nothing.

The Japanese world speed-eating champion has swallowed a total of 53 and a half hot dogs, and their accompanying buns, in just 12 minutes.

He broke last year's record during a hot dog eating event at New York's Coney Island on Sunday.

Mr Kobayashi used his trademark "Solomon technique" - splitting the sausage in two before wolfing it down and moving on to the next one.

Records smashed

"I think he has proven, once again, that he is one of the finest athletes of any sport in the world," said spokesman for the contest Richard Shea.

Contestants in the hot dog eating competition, Coney Island, New York
The competition was first held in Coney Island in 1916
A Japanese citizen Noboyuki Shirota came in second after wolfing down some 38 hot dogs.

An American of South Korean descent Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, came in third with 32 dogs, breaking the women's world record.

"She's just beginning with this, so the sky's the limit," Mr Shea said of Ms Thomas.

"She may be the only one who can challenge the Japanese's dominance in the future."

The hot dog competition has been running at Coney island since 1916.

Some 3,000 people turned out on Sunday to watch the dogs go down.

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