Kohima: Naga chilli-eating competition, which has become an annual affair of Hornbill Festival since 2010, just got hotter at the 20th celebration of the ‘festival of festivals’ on Saturday.
Held at the Heritage Village in Kisama, the competition was held under two categories. For the ‘local’ category, Moba Chang from Tuensang won the competition with a record of eating seven king chillies in 20 seconds, beating last year’s winner Akho from Phek district, who managed to eat five chillies.
In the ‘tourist’ category, Nathan from Australia won the competition with a record of eating four king chillies in 20 seconds. The previous record in the category was made by Tapan from Guwahati, Assam who managed to eat six chillies last year.
Other participants in the local category included Vepozo from Phek (5), Thonjai from Mon (3) and Shekuve Khamo (3).
Prior to the competition, an agreement citing the terms and conditions, is signed by the participants where it states the particition is “purely voluntary; and for the greater cause of promoting this indigenous sport”. Only after proper medical checkup by the assigned doctors, the participants are allowed to qualify for the competition.
An initiative of the department of horticulture, the Naga chilli eating competition made its debut in the 11th edition of Hornbill Festival in 2010. For this year, four doctors from Oking hospital Kohima were assigned to keep a check on the health of the participants.
Bhoot Jolokia or Raja Mircha is an indigenous crop of the state which is believed to have originated from the Zeliangrong area of
Nagaland and is extensively grown in Peren, Mon, Kohima and Dimapur.
Interestingly, it is the first crop from the state to be given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag and is one of the hottest known chillies in the world besides having an appealing aroma, which is consumed as a food item in every Naga household.
Immediately after the chilli-eating competition, the pineapple eating competition, a tourist exclusive competition, was held where Bharat Doongarwal won the competition.