Tuesday 16 January 2018

'Black Widow' devours competition

Sonya Thomas celebrates her chicken wing-eating win (AP)
Sonya Thomas celebrates her chicken wing-eating win (AP)
Contestants gobble wings at the National Buffalo Wing Festival (AP)

An eating contest competitor who calls herself Black Widow has gobbled up nearly 181 chicken wings in 12 minutes, devouring the national championship record in the US.

"I'm so happy!" said Sonya Thomas, who ate 4.86lb (2.2kg) of chicken wings to win the contest, besting world eating marvel Joey Chestnut at the ninth annual National Buffalo Wing Festival.

Buffalo, about 300 miles north-west of New York, is said to be the birthplace of the wings, typically fried and covered in tangy vinegar and hot sauce.

Mr Chestnut, America's top professional eater, was favoured to win Sunday's competition. He came in second after eating 169 chicken wings, or 4.55lb (2.06kg).

This was the first time Ms Thomas, of Alexandria, Virginia, and Mr Chestnut, of San Jose, California, faced off in a chicken wing eating contest. They went at it "neck and neck," said Drew Cerza, the founder of the festival, which was inspired by the 2001 Bill Murray comedy Osmosis Jones, about a compulsive eater.

"They pushed each other really hard," Mr Cerza said. "Joey is so strong. He's got great jaw strength. But Sonya's so fast with the hand."

Thomas, who's 5ft tall and weights 105lb (47.6kg), calls herself the Black Widow because she often defeats bigger male competitors - Mr Chestnut is 6ft 2in and weights 230lb (104.3kg) - in eating contests. She set the previous wings record in 2005, when she ate 174 in 12 minutes.

She also previously set eating records for oysters, hard-boiled eggs, cheesecake and jalapeno peppers. She won her first competitive eating event in 2003.

The 43-year-old said: "Sometimes if I try to chew too much I slow down," she said. "I used my hands more than the mouth."

But she said she was still hungry afterwards, calling the wings "an appetiser". About an hour later, she made a guest appearance in the Ridiculously Hot Buffalo Wing Eating Contest and ate 20 more.

Press Association

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