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World Pie Eating Championship Must Go Ahead As An ‘Elite Sport’ Says Organiser

World Pie Eating Championship Must Go Ahead As An ‘Elite Sport’ Says Organiser

The organiser of Britain's World Pie Eating Championship has begged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to let the event go ahead in 2020 on the grounds that it is "an elite sport".

Tony Callaghan, the man who puts on the annual pre-Christmas show-stopper at Harry's Bar in Wigan, has pointed out that the competition - by its very nature - comes with a substantial meal.

However the current restrictions put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic mean this year's tournament is in danger of being cancelled.

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In a tongue-in-cheek letter to the Prime Minister, Callaghan even offered to hold the 2020 championship in a nearby car park if it would help adhere to the rules.

He wrote: "As you are no doubt aware, Harry's Bar in Wigan hosts the annual World Pie Eating Championships at Pie Noon on or around December 16.

"We are applying for special dispensation to hold it this year on the grounds that the event should be classified as an elite sport, but also involves consumption of a substantial meal.

"Well, maybe not on the grounds itself because of the tier thing and we're shut, but we might see if we can use Wallgate car park."

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We can just picture Eddie Hearn's eyes lighting up at the prospect of the 2020 World Pie Eating Championship: live on Sky Sports Box Office from Wallgate car park. But, of course, the PM has to agree that pie-eating should be categorised as an elite sport first.

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Callaghan is optimistic, saying of Johnson: "I'm hopeful he will let us host it because of the type of person he is."

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However, the pie-eating powerbroker admits that he is preparing for a postponement if he doesn't get a favourable response.

"We have been running this for donkey's years, so it is disappointing," he said.

"Everything is doom and gloom at the moment. The Pie Eating Championships puts a smile on everyone's faces."

The rules of the WPEC are simple: the athletes are required to wolf down a pie as fast as they humanly can, with top competitors able to do so in under 20 seconds.

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Whether we will see these pastry-punishing specimens in action in 2020, however, remains to be seen.

All imagery: PA Images

Topics: News

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Alex Reid

Alex Reid is a writer at SPORTbible who’s previously strung words together for FourFourTwo, Boxing News, The Guardian and, yes, Cruise International (it’s about big ships, not Tom). Interests range from football and boxing to real sports like WWE and darts. He is not a cage fighter.