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Man breaks, covers, cuts competition

Paper covers rock: The move that won.

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TORONTO, Ontario (Reuters) -- The competitors, in glitzy, off-the-wall costumes, call themselves professional athletes. Some even bring along team doctors to supervise their nutrition and take them through intense warmups.

This, it seems, is serious stuff to the 320 competitors who shook their fists early into Sunday morning at the World Rock, Paper, Scissors Championships at a nightclub in downtown Toronto.

The man who did win -- and netted himself a purse of C$5,000 ($3,825) -- was Toronto's Rob Krueger, a member of the team "Legion of the Red Fist."

To achieve the lofty title of World RPS Champion, he threw a combination of rock-paper-paper, defeating his opponent's offering of three rocks.

Treading a thin line between silly spectacle and serious sport, the event drew a crowd of about 900, including many spectators who wandered, with drinks in hand, among a slew of local and international media.

Andy Cumming, 28, flew to Canada from London with five other members of the United Kingdom team, as well as their team doctor who counsels them on warmups, diet and practice.

"It's an internationally played game, you know," he said, wearing a pair of worker's coveralls with the red, white and blue of the Union Jack patterned on it.

"It's a complete travesty that not many people take it seriously."

To the uninitiated, taking the playground game seriously is something of a tall order. Many competitors wore crude, homemade costumes, and played with a can of beer in their non-throwing hand.

Douglas Walker, managing director of the Toronto-based, 700-member World RPS Society, is a little more realistic about the so-called sport he promotes.

"We take rock, paper, scissors about as seriously as you take something like rock, paper, scissors. We have a lot of fun with the concept."

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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