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LONDON (Reuters) - "Ready, steady, slow," was the cry as 'Team Uslime Bolt' and their rivals got underway at the World Snail Racing championships in the English village of Congham.

More than 150 snails took part in Saturday's championships, held on a damp cloth on a table top in a field, vying to become the latest winner of an event which dates back to the 1960s.

Some snails had their shells painted in bright colours, with stickers attached to them indicating race numbers. Entrance fees were 20 pence a snail, many of which were plucked from the gardens.

Larry, owned by Tara Beasley, was this year's winner, completing the 33 cm course in two minutes and 20 seconds on Saturday.

"It's not really sunk in, I kind of entered as a bit of a challenge with my friend and now Larry is a champion. So yeah, it feels great," Beasley said after winning the prized silver tankard stuffed with lettuce leaves.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston, editing by Pritha Sarkar)