Lithuanian couple carry the day and win world wife-carrying title

Competitors Kirkliauskas Vytautas and Kirkliauskiene Neringa of Lithuania participate in the annual Wife Carrying World Championships.
Competitors Kirkliauskas Vytautas and Kirkliauskiene Neringa of Lithuania participate in the annual Wife Carrying World Championships.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

STOCKHOLM (DPA) - A couple from Lithuania on Saturday (July 6) carried the day and defended their World Wife Carrying Championship title, organisers in central Finland said.

Vytautas Kirkliauskas carried his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene around the 253.5-metre track in 1 minute and 6.72 seconds, slightly slower than their winning time last year.

The Lithuanian couple narrowly edged Finland's six-time world champion Taisto Miettinen who this year partnered with Katja Kovanen.

Another Finnish couple finished in third place.

Rain at Saturday's event likely contributed to the slower times, a spokeswoman for the organisers told dpa.

The annual competition in Sonkajarvi has been held since 1992.

The woman, who doesn't necessarily need to be married to her teammate, is hauled over the course either by piggyback or over his shoulders.

There were entries from 12 countries, including Australia, Britain, Croatia, and Germany.

Contestants have to brave several hurdles, including a 1m-deep water obstacle.

The rules state that contestants do not have to be married, but that female teammates must weigh at least 49kg and be at least 17 years old.

They also state that "all the participants must have fun."

The first prize is the woman's weight in beer, but organisers did not know how much Neringa Kirkliauskiene weighed.

The wife carrying contest is one of several wacky competitions held during the summer in the Nordic country.

Another event is the world air guitar championships.