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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 04:28 GMT
Piglet race draws Russian crowds
Spectators cheer as piglets race at Russian pig derby in Moscow
All proceeds from the races will reportedly go to children's charities
Hundreds of Russians gathered in Moscow to cheer on contestants at the city's first piglet derby since 1898.

At the derby, held in a Moscow exhibition complex, 10 two-month-old piglets were introduced to the spectators before the first race began.

After a tense start the final winner, nicknamed Apollo, was awarded a bucket full of carrots with cream.

Piglet derbies have been held in Russia since the 17th century and were once highly popular with the public.

Organisers reassured spectators the rules have now been changed and the winners are no longer eaten right after the race.

Alongside the piglet contestants, hamsters were also put to the running test.

In honour of the start of the Formula One motor-racing season, hamster owners provided their little treasures with red racing car replicas to ride in.

The eventual victor - Shurik - raced to the finish to loud cheers from spectators, who praised his courage.

Proceeds from all the races will go to children's charities, the Russian Pravda newspaper reported.

The BBC's Laura Talbot
"Big race nerves did get the better of some competitors"

Country profile: Russia
16 Mar 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Russia
08 Mar 04  |  Country profiles


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