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Pigs to race near St Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, October 18 (RIA Novosti) - Pig races are set to take place in Lakhta, a municipality northwest of St. Petersburg, from October 27-28, the event's organizers said on Thursday.

Pig races in Russia began in the 16th century during the youth of the future Ivan the Terrible, as a means of entertainment for the young tsar. The winner was honored by being cooked for the royal dinner.

In Lakhta, pigs will race on specially-designed racing tracks with obstacles featuring water and sand, and human visitors to the races will be able to try pig ears and trotters at a nearby restaurant.

The first to race will be four piglets.

The winner will receive a big cup full of carrots and cream, and the chance to continue its career in sport.

Pig races are becoming more and more popular in Russia. In 2005, the Federation of Sport Pig Breeders was established, and racing tracks were built in Moscow.

The craze is not limited to Russia - thousands of people visited Shanghai to watch pigs compete at Pig Olympics, held in Shanghai in 2005. The Pig Olympics also took place in Moscow in 2006.

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