World Pie Eating Championship organiser demands it be considered ‘elite sport’

The organiser of the annual World Pie Eating Championship has demanded Boris Johnson allow competitors tuck in because he claims it is a "elite sport".

Pie lover and contest runner Tony Callaghan has pleaded with Downing Street to give permission to let food-lovers tuck in.

Held at Harry’s Bar in Wigan, the messy but much-loved competition has become something of a Christmas tradition, the MEN reported.

Competitors are required to wolf down a pie as fast as they can in a bid to secure the dubious honour of being the pie eating world champion.

Last year’s "lord of the pies" gobbled a meat and potato treat in 35.4 seconds – but as it stands, there will be no chance of besting the time.

Mr Callaghan pointed out in a letter to Boris that participants are enjoying a substantial meal – and even said he will stick them in the car park to maintain distancing.

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.

"We cannot do this by Zoom because the buggers will all cheat. Also, some think Zoom is a nightclub in Bolton, so they will be confused.

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"We would also request that competitors are allowed to be exemptioned from wearing a face mask during the contest.

"With Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas."

While he is yet to receive a response to his plea, Mr Callaghan says he hopes Mr Johnson will give the event the green light.

The Prime Minister has been known to enjoy a pie or two and was even pictured eating a slice on his campaign bus ahead of last year's general election.

"I'm hopeful he will let us host it because of the type of person he is," said Mr Callaghan.

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However, he concedes that the event may end up having to be postponed until next year.

"I could run the risk of holding it on a car park because it is an open space but I don't want to do something I shouldn't," said Mr Callaghan.

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

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

Last year's event was won by Ian Gerrard, who beat five-time champion Martin Appleton-Clare to take the prestigious title.

The pie-munching get-together regularly attracts competitors, spectators and media coverage from across the globe.

During normal times, the rules are simple and anyone can take part – just turn up at the pub and prepare to punish the pastry.

The event made global headlines in 2016 when organisers sent a pie into space attached to a weather balloon.

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