Whilst Japan may lead the world in the fields of manga and maid cafes, the country’s quest for a sporting superstar has sadly remained illusive. Admittedly Japanese baseball and soccer players have made sizeable splashes in America and Europe respectively, but the nation has yet to produce a global star with the talent of Tiger Woods or the phenomenal fame of footballer David Beckham.
However the desperate search appeared to finally be over, as after six consecutive wins at the much renowned Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi looked set to become one of the greatest athletes to have graced the world stage by bagging an unprecedented seventh title at this year’s event. An achievement that sadly was wasn’t meant to be, as Kobayashi fell at the final hurdle and came a close second to American Joey Chestnut. The six-time winner even suffering the ignominy of a ‘reversal’ towards the end of the competition.
A feat that, if successful, would have surely resulted in the 29-year-old being given a hero’s welcome on his return to Japan. And along with sponsorship offers aplenty, there was also a much-anticipated audience planned at the Imperial Palace, with many people speculating that Kobayashi was to be awarded accordingly with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.
But perhaps predictably the dream would appear to be over, and the search begins all over again…