Champ a top dog again with 49 wieners
Takeru Kobayashi of Japan downed 49 frankfurters Monday to win his fifth hot-dog eating title.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Takeru Kobayashi won his fifth consecutive hot-dog eating title Monday by downing 49 frankfurters in 12 minutes, leaving 17 competitors in his wake.
But the Nagano, Japan, eating champion fell short of his personal best set last year -- a record 53.5 hot dogs and buns.
"I'm very sad," Kobayashi, 27, said through an interpreter. "I came here to beat it. Maybe next year I will."
American Sonya Thomas, 37, placed second. Her consumption of 37 frankfurters set an American record.
"I trained for speed," said the diminutive dog devourer, who weighs 100 pounds, stands 5 feet 5 inches and manages a Burger King restaurant in Virginia.
"My stomach doesn't hurt, but my jaw is tired," she said less than an hour after finishing the competition. "Maybe tonight, I'm going to eat a light dinner, a kind of salad."
Finishing third, with 32 hot dogs under his belt, was Joey Chestnut, 21, from San Jose, California.
Heft did not appear to confer any advantage: At 150 pounds, Kobayashi weighs half of what some of his competitors weigh. He also holds records for eating 17.7 pounds of cow brains, 20 pounds of noodles and 20 pounds of rice balls.
Kobayashi credited his technique for Monday's win. He breaks the hot dog in two, eats it, then soaks the buns in water before swallowing them.
Kobayashi retains the "Coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt" and wins a year's supply of hot dogs from Nathan's, sponsor of the annual event. The competition has been held at Surf and Stillwell avenues in Brooklyn's Coney Island section since 1916.
CNN's Allan Chernoff, Adam Reiss and Shannon Troetel contributed to this report.
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