Japan’s World Record Speed Eater has suffered a severe jaw injury due to his rigorous training, making his next title uncertain.
Takeru “Tsunami” Kobayashi said he can only open his mouth to make a gap the size of a fingertip after being diagnosed with jaw arthritis.
In an entry on his blog entitled “Occupational hazard,” Kobayashi said: “My jaw refused to fight any more.”
“I feel ashamed that I couldn’t notice the alarm bells set off by my own body,” he said. “But with the goal to win another title with a new record, I couldn’t stop my training so close to the competition.
“I was continuing my training and bearing with the pain but finally I destroyed my jaw.”
Kobayashi, who has become a niche celebrity in Japan and the United States, had already halted his competitive eating activities for several months due to mourning after his mother’s death earlier this year.