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Sunday, 23 June, 2002, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Best toe forward
Toe-wrestling action
Wrestlers must keep the non-playing leg off the ground
Triumph has mingled with controversy at yet another world class sporting tournament.

Allegations of gamesmanship marred some bouts at the ninth annual World Toe-Wrestling Championships.

The arena for the competition was Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn, at Wetton, Staffordshire, which has hosted the tournament since the 1970s.

Organisers admit the competition was created in a desperate bid to find a sport which England could win.

Ready, steady, toe
Toe to toe

George Burgess, president of the World Toe-Wrestling Organisation, said: "It was dreamed up in the pub in the early 1970s by a group of walkers.

"They were lamenting the fact that England didn't win anything, so they wanted to come up with a sport that nobody else played."

Players must force their fellow competitor's foot to the side, in a fashion similar to arm wrestling.

Crown regained

But they must remain seated while keeping their non-playing leg off the ground.

The atmosphere became heated when players were seen to be pulling their toes away seconds before the crucial toe-down moment.

Alan 'Nasty' Nash came through a hotly contested final to claim the men's title for the fifth time.

Mr Nash, from Stoke-on-Trent, said: "I came here to regain my crown.

"I knew I was going to win and I was not going to settle for second place."

Both he and women's champion Karen 'Kamikaze' Davies, from Sheffield, won shields and a year's supply of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.


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