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Tortoise beats hare in skiing competition

Aesop

In a bit of life imitating Aesop's fables, a tortoise has beaten a hare in a skiing competition in China.

Yes, that first line is real. (And OK, so it wasn't a hare but a pet rabbit; it still could do the long jump.)

The contest, held at Sanmenxia in central China's Henan province, calls on sports enthusiasts to enter the race along with a furry friend. The weirder the pet, the more points the owner is given.

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The 40 human contestants were allowed to place their animals on either skis or sledges, or simply lead the animal during competition.

This year's animal contestants included cats, dogs, a duck (which placed first in the competition) and, of course, the tortoise and the rabbit.

"Because the rabbit loved jumping and didn't follow its owner's commands, it was overtaken by the tortoise," China's state-run news agency reported on Wednesday.

The tortoise reportedly never actually came out of its shell, instead beating the hare by proxy of his owner.

The event not only attracted curious onlookers, but animal-rights protesters as well, who are calling for a ban on the sport that organizers call "harmless fun."

A spokesman for the race told China's Ani News, "Anything goes. We even had a goldfish this year but decided not to let it take part because the fishbowl was not watertight, and we feared the fish could have been spilled onto the snow."

Looking for more bizarre news? Follow me on Twitter @Sleasca

Stacey.Leasca@latimes.com

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