Man wins dumpling contest, dies by asphyxia, according to police. The 77-year-old was attempting to get earn a jar of sour cream as the grand prize in his quest by downing 10 Vareniki dumplings in 30 seconds. However, Ivan Mendel soon realized that things took a turn for the worse.
“The old man got sick and fell to the ground,” an unnamed witness said in a statement. “The ambulance arrived when he was already dead. The doctor said that he probably choked on vomit,” the witness added.
The contest was held on September 18th in the town of Tokmak in the southeastern Zaporizhya region for anyone to win the grand prize. Dumplings, called “Vareniki” in the former Soviet Republic, are a staple of Ukrainian cuisine and are often stuffed with a range of fillings from mushrooms to cherries. Some were quick to blame organizers of the event for how the man died which they deny in any way was their fault.
“A 77-year-old pensioner ate his portion more quickly than his opponent,” Viktor Khalamovsky, one of the event organizers, said in a statement about the man. “He won a prize for that, a jar of sour cream. What happened to him after his victory, the organizers don’t know.”
Later when contacted about the incident, Officials in Tokmak, refused to comment to the local media about the dumpling contest, but said representatives had attended the Mendel’s funeral on Tuesday.
Other eating contests sponsored by restaurants can involve a challenge to eat large or extraordinarily spicy food items, including giant steaks, hamburgers and curries in a set amount of time, but participants usually don’t die after they win.