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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 July, 2004, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
Estonian carries 'wife' to glory
Men bearing their 'wives' in the carrying contest
The winner of the competition gets his wife's weight in beer as a prize
An Estonian couple has carried off the gold medal in the world wife-carrying championships in Finland.

20 year-old Madis Uusorg ran through sand, waded across waist-high water and scrambled over timber logs to win the prize of a portable sauna.

And all with his 19-year-old "wife" Inga Klauso clinging on for dear life.

The couple used the famed "Estonian Carry" where the woman clamps her thighs to the sides of the man's face while hanging upside down on his back.

The long-standing wife-carrying competition, which took place in the remote village of Sonkajarvi, a few hours' drive from the Arctic circle, has its roots deep within Finnish tradition.

Stealing women

According to the town's website, carrying weights over an obstacle course was an initiation test for local brigands.

And it was apparently also common practice for men to steal women from local villages.

Nowadays couples, who do not necessarily have to be married, come from around the world to take part in the competition.

Petite Inga Klauso put the couple's victory down to the fact that Mr Madis was simply very good at carrying women.

"It's pretty unpleasant but not as bad as it seems," said Ms. Klauso, who weighs just 48 kilos, one kilo under the minimum requirement.

Mr Uusorg had to carry an additional rucksack to make up the weight requirement.

The couple completed the course in one minute and 5.3 seconds, narrowly beating a Finnish couple who had run earlier.

The prize includes the "wife's" weight in beer but the portable sauna cabin is only big enough for one.

Sauna rivals feel the heat
02 Aug 03  |  Europe
Finnish saunas cause power crisis
03 Jan 03  |  Business

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