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Finland, the country of the most weird world championships

foreigner.fi | 21 February 2019

Wife Carrying World Championships. Screenshot from Euronews YouTube channel No Comment TV
Wife Carrying World Championships. Screenshot from Euronews YouTube channel No Comment TV

Running carrying the wife, throwing mobile phones, making the best solos with air guitars or playing football matches on impossible terrains are some of the peculiar 'sports' of this country

Who said that Finland is not a country with its own personality?

The inhabitants of the country of ice and snow surprise those who visit them through their customs. Some as strange as running with the woman in tow, making the best solos with guitars that do not exist or playing football games on impossible terrains. A challenge in which surely would be interesting to see how the stars of the Premier League play.

Those who want to know a little more about this small country and the peculiar sense of humour of its inhabitants, would do well to take a look at some of their popular games. So, read below a list of the 5 most unusual competitions and events they celebrate.

1. Wife Carrying World Championship

This is one of the 'sports' that has made this country famous all over the world. It is celebrated every summer since 1992 in the city of Sonkajärvi (in the region of Pohjois-Savo, central Finland). The rules are very simple: men race while carrying their female partners through a special obstacle track.

There are several types of carrying: piggyback, fireman's (she is over his shoulders) and Estonian-style (she hangs upside-down holding with her legs around his shoulders). The prize is something very valuable in this Nordic region: the woman's weight in beer.

Video: EuroNews - No Comment TV. YouTube.

2. Swamp Football World Championship

Yes, the Finns do things complicated. Swamp Football or Swamp Soccer, better known in Finland as Suopotkupallo, is played is played in bogs or swamps. The official story says that it was originally invented in Finland, where it was used as an extra-demanding exercise to train athletes and soldiers. Something like the way of training of Sylvester Stallone when he went to Russia to fight against Ivan Drago in Rock IV.

The first organised championship was the 1998 Finnish championship and was the brainchild of Jyrki Väänänen nicknamed "The Swamp Baron". There are currently an estimated 300 swamp football teams around the world.

Video: Diagonal View. YouTube.

3. World Mobile Phone Throwing Championships

This international sport's first world championship was arranged for the first time in the city of Savolinna (East Finland). Participants throw their cell phones as far as they can and they are judged depending on the distance and the technique. The first organiser was a translation and interpretation company, Fennolingua.

The idea is that participants can throw away, as far as possible, their frustrations along with their mobiles. The world record holder is the German Tom Reinhardt, who managed to throw his device as far as 136.75 metres.

There are four categories: Original, Freestyle, Team Original and Junior (for children up to 12 years). Only phones that weight over 220 grams are accepted. It has become so popular that nowadays there are also national championships of this discipline all over Europe.

Video: Curiosity Loop. YouTube.

4. The Air Guitar World Championships

Finland also gives music lovers, especially rock and heavy metal fans, the chance to get on stage and play like their idols. Can not you play the guitar? Relax, nothing happens. In this championship it is only about simulating your virtuosity when it comes to playing the riffs and solos of your idols.

The Air Guitar World Championships is celebrated since 1996 as a part of the Oulu Music Video Festival in the city of Oulu (North West Finland). Yes, it all started as a joke but it became so popular that nowadays is one of the main attractions of the festival.

Video: Air Guitar World Championship. YouTube

5. The World Sauna Championships

Not existing anymore, this used to be an annual endurance contest celebrated in the city of Heinola (South Finland) since 1999 to 2010. The origin was an unofficial sauna-sitting competition in a swimming hall but soon became well known and got competitors from over 20 countries.

The contest began with preliminary rounds and ended in the finals, where the best six men and women would see who could resist more. In the men's competition the starting temperature was 110 °C. To make it harder, half a litre of water was thrown into the stove every 30 seconds. The winner was the last one to leave the place without any help.

The championship was cancelled after the death of one Russian finalist and the near-death of the other (a Finnish man) in 2010.

Finnish sauna

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