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Sunday, 2 July, 2000, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Estonia's clean sweep at wife-carrying
Hwang Sunmi
South Korea's Hwang Sunmi was no match for Estonia
An Estonian man has fought off a challenge from a sumo wrestler to be named the world's best wife carrier.

A record 7,000 spectators gathered for the fifth Wife Carrying World Championships, in a village in Finland.

Margo Uusorg took the title after carrying Birgit Ulrich across the course in the best time.

Experts put his success down to technique - carrying her upside down, leaving both hands free - and her light weight of only 33.2 kilos.

Margo Uusorg
The winning technique - demonstrated by Margo Uusorg

South Korean sumo wrestler Hwang Sunmi mounted a serious challenge, employing a different hands-free technique to carry Kwang Duk through the 250m watery course.

But his strength was no match for the combination of technique and speed employed by the Estonians, whose teams came first and second in the contest.

Competitors from eight countries took part in the event, at Sonkajarvi in central Finland.

Competition rules state that the couples taking part in the wife-carrying contest do not actually need to be married.

Originated

Men can choose any woman over the age of 16 to be their symbolic wife for the event.

The winners claim prizes including the wife's weight in beer.

The festival originated in the 19th century when it was common practice in Finland to steal women from neighbouring villages.

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