Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wife Carrying World Championships 2009

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 Sonkajärvi, central Finland.

Wife carrying (Finnish eukonkanto) is a sport in which male competitors race while each carrying a female team mate. The objective is for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track in the fastest time. The winner gets the weight of the carried wife in beer.

Several types of carry may be practised: piggyback, fireman's carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband's shoulders, holding onto his waist). More info and the rules you can find here

The idea of the Wife Carrying Competition is Sonkaj√§rvi’s own and it has roots in the local history. In the late 1800’s there was a brigand called Rosvo-Ronkainen,and according to the legend he had accepted in this troops only those men who proved their worth on a challenging track. In those days, it was also common to steal women from the neighbouring villages.

In the team competition three men in the team carry the wife in turns. At the exchange point the carrier has to drink the official "wife carrying drink" before continuing the race. The winners and the team with best costumes are awarded.

In the sprint competition the length of the track is 100 meters, and the surface of the track is partially sand and partially gravel. The track has a water obstacle, about one meter deep. The contestants run the qualification round with 5 to 10 couples at a time and the first three of each heat continue in the next round until there are just three couples left to compete in the final.

For the public there is a cheerleaders’ competition. Four to six persons form a group that takes part in the competition but they may have backers of their own with similar humour in the audience.

Here are the results for the best and also for the best foreign teams. Altogether there were participants from 13 countries.

1. Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen (Finland)
2. Alar Voogia ja Kristi Viltrop (Estonia)
6. Ri Fahnestock and Sarah Silverberg (Exeter, USA)
7. Anthony Partridge and Cath Whalan (Australia)
8. John O’shea and Aoife Desmond (Caherdaniel Castlecove, Ireland)
20. Mike Koy and Gillian Kirby (Hallerup, Denmark)
21. James Chester ja Erika Chester (Anscbach, Germany)
22. Christopher Hill and Nanko Minami (Palmyra, USA / Osaka, Japan)
27. David Dobogai and Jitka Dobogai (USA / Czech Rebublic)

If you get interested in the sport, here are some tips how to become a master in wife carrying

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