'Black widow' is cheese champ

A 100-pound woman ate 26 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes at a New York restaurant, winning the World Grilled Cheese Eating Championship.

Sonya Thomas won $8,000 (€6,600) for the contest at the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Times Square yesterday, but said she was disappointed in her performance.

“I could have done better,” she said, adding that she was aiming for 30 sandwiches.

Thomas said she had to catch a train shortly after the contest to make her shift at a Burger King on Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where she is a manager.

She said she has a naturally big stomach capacity and heavily soaked her sandwiches in water to make them easier to swallow. She said to train she drinks large amounts of water to expand her stomach capacity and practices relaxing her throat.

Thomas, whose normal weight is about 100 pounds (45 kilograms), estimated she gained 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) during Wednesday’s contest.

It was a close win. Her nearest competitor, Joey Chestnut, ate 25 and a half sandwiches.

On the eating contest circuit, Thomas is known as the ”Black Widow”, apparently because she has defeated so many larger men.

She holds numerous world eating records, including 46 dozen oysters in 10 minutes, 11 pounds (five kilograms) of cheesecake in 9 minutes, 48 chicken tacos in 11 minutes, 37 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes and 56 hamburgers in 8 minutes.

The event was organised by GoldenPalace.com, an Internet casino and poker room.

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