Sunday, June 04, 2006

Spectator recovering after being hit by cheese

ROCKWORTH: Twenty-five people were injured yesterday at an annual cheese-rolling competition in which daredevils chase giant cheese wheels down a steep slope in western England.

Dozens took part in the bizarre event at Cooper's Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, before a crowd of about 3000 cheering spectators.

They raced for 200m down the slope after wheel-shaped Double Gloucester cheeses, decorated in a blue and red ribbon.

Many slipped, somersaulted and tumbled their way to the bottom during five bone-crunching races over two hours.

Of the 25 people hurt, 12 were spectators, one of whom was hit by one of the hard, 4kg, dinner-plate-sized cheeses used in each race, but only two people were taken to hospital for further assessment.

The organisers said the number of injuries was comparatively low. "We usually average around 30 to 40 people who need treatment," said Jim Jones, operations training manager for St John Ambulance.

"The most serious injuries this year appear to be a dislocated finger and a possible fractured ankle."

The wet weather helped protect the racers, as they were able to slide down the slope rather than tumble head over heels.

Among the winners of the five races was Chris Anderson, 18, who knocked himself out to claim the title.

Afterwards, the dazed window fitter said: "I just ran, fell and hit my head. I feel sore but it was definitely worth it."

First prize in each race is a big circle of cheese.

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