The 2016 Southend Borough Hokey Cokey Invitational ended in a riot earlier this evening after a double amputee was controversially eliminated before the tournament had even started.
According to witnesses, police were called due to ‘a significant disturbance’ when popular contestant Roger Plod was told by the judges that he would be ‘ineligible’ to take part due to being unable to complete two of the five key disciplines required.
Mr Plod, who lost both of his legs after a fishing accident on Southend Pier in 1993, has been taking part in the yearly contest since it was introduced to the official town calendar of cultural events in 2001.
Under a special exemption applied by the global governing body HokCok Corp, Roger is permitted to simply place a prosthetic limb into the arena of competition as and when is required.
However, after a number of complaints were received from competitors in the run-up to this year’s contest, a panel of judges ruled that this exemption was placing other participants at a severe disadvantage. A counter-appeal was launched by Mr Plod, and a final ruling against him was only put in place in the minutes before tonight’s contest was due to begin.
Speaking to a gathering of reporters once the police had left the scene and made seventeen arrests, a spokesperson confirmed that Mr Plod had been denied entry over a technicality in the ‘whole self’ discipline.
He said: ‘Although the panel was prepared to disregard complaints relating to Mr Plod not being able to insert two of the required four limbs, the final discipline of the competition clearly requires a ‘whole self’ – Mr Plod has a body mass that is far lower than his able-bodied competitors, and therefore we have had to rule in favour of the complainants.’
‘We would suggest on this occasion that Mr Plod should enter one of the many Para Hokey Cokey competitions that are organised around the UK on a regular basis. The key objective of this global disability-friendly movement is that competitive Hokey Cokey dancing should be accessible to everyone.’
‘That’s what it’s all about.’