HELSINKI (AFP) – Finland put an end to Estonia’s 11-year reign and took gold and bronze on Saturday at the annual Wife-Carrying World Championships held in Sonkajaervi, central Finland, organisers said.
Taisto Miettinen raced through a 250-metre (273-yard) course with two hurdles and a pool in 62 seconds, carrying Kristiina Haapanen on his back. The winners beat Estonia’s Alar Voogla and Kristi Viltrop by 0.1 seconds.
Miettinen has been attending the competition for a decade now and said he was pleased to finally win.
“A couple of times I have lost by 0.1 seconds and I have stumbled. Our win tastes now really good,” Miettinen said in a statement.
Although Estonia’s long chain of wins in wife-carrying was brought to an end, Voogla said he was happy with silver and added the cool and cloudy weather had an impact on their race.
“It was not our day, in the cool weather it was slightly difficult and the run did not go as planned,” he noted.
Finns Heikki Hannukainen and Heini Rauhamaa came in third and were some six seconds slower than the victors.
Sonkajaervi village, located some 490 kilometres (302 miles) north of Helsinki, has in the past 14 years made its entertaining wife-carrying competition known around the world and this year competitors came from eight countries including Australia, Ireland and Czech Republic.
The race was inspired by the legend of a local thug, Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, who lived in a forest and is said to have snatched food and sometimes ladies from villages in the region.