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'Tsunami' scoffs hot dog title

Kobayashi doubled the record to 50 hot dogs in 2001.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- In his fourth victory in a row, a Japanese man retained his hot-dog-eating title Sunday by eating 53.5 of the wieners in 12 minutes.

Takeru Kobayashi the prior record of 50.5 frankfurters in Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, held on Brooklyn's Coney Island.

Kobayashi, known as "The Tsunami," got to keep the yellow "Mustard Belt" awarded the champion. At 5'6, he weighs 132 lbs.

Second place went to Nobuyuki Shirota, 25, from Toyko, a first timer in the contest, who downed 38 hot dogs and buns.

Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, Va., came in third and broke both the women's world record and her own personal record with 32 hot dogs and buns. Thomas weighs 100 pounds.

Kobayashi, 26, of Nagano, Japan was competing against 19 other entrants representing five countries: United States, Germany, New Zealand, England and Japan.

In 2001 Kobayashi doubled the record by eating 50 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes. Kobayashi broke his own world record by eating 50 and 1/2 hot dogs and buns in 2002 and won the contest again in 2003 with 44 and 1/2 hot dogs and buns.

Kobayashi, who was the favorite going into the race, also will receive a trophy and a year's supply of hot dogs.

This was Nathan's Famous' 89th annual contest.

It has been held at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn since 1916, when Nathan Handwerker took the advice of Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante and invested $300 to open his hot dog restaurant.

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