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Last Updated: Monday, 30 August, 2004, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Triple triumph for bog snorkeller
Bog snorkelling
The idea for bog snorkelling came out of a pub conversation
A teenager from south Wales has retained his title in one of the world's most bizarre sports - bog snorkelling.

Philip John, 17, from Bridgend, has won the competition at Llanwrtyd Wells for three years running.

He did not manage to beat his own world record of 1min 35sec.

However his time of 1min 39sec for two lengths of the 60-yard trench at the Waen Rhydd Peat bog was good enough to hold off all challengers.

The competition is now in its 19th year.

Official rules state that entrants must not use conventional swimming strokes but instead rely on flipper power only.

Bog snorkelling
The event attracts big crowds to Llanwrtyd Wells

The contest was born in 1986 after a pub conversation when a local charity was searching for fundraising ideas.

Speaking before the race, organiser Gordon Green said the recent wet weather had helped prepare the course.

"There will be plenty of water - that's for sure," he said.

"It is becoming a real international event," he added.

"We have entries from abroad, and media as well - we have Russian television coming, and Belgians too."

He told BBC Wales 140 competitors from as far away as South Africa, Zambia, Australia and New Zealand were taking part.

The event started at 1100 BST and ran for over six hours before all the competitors were finished.

Mr Green added: "We have had rain and a bit of sunshine, but it's cold and windy."

Bog snorkelling is not the only bizarre annual tradition in the small town of Llanwrtyd Wells.

In June, runner Huw Lobb became the first man to win the Man versus Horse race around the town, which is now in its 25th year.

A record 500 runners and more than 40 horses and riders competed over the 22-mile course, which takes competitors across farm tracks, footpaths, open moorland and tarmac.

In Pictures: bog snorkelling
26 Aug 03  |  Photo Gallery
Swimmers aim for bog standard
25 Aug 03  |  Wales



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