Estonians carry all before them

  • 2007-07-11
  • By Mike Collier
SONKAJARVI - Estonia's reputation for producing some of the world's best athletes was further enhanced this week when the country's athletes took gold and silver at a world championship meet in Finland.

Unfortunately, the event in question wasn't athletics or basketball but the rather more unusual sport of wife carrying, which did not feature as one of the disciplines when Erki Nool won decathlon gold at the 2000 olympic games.

The world title went to Estonian Ranner Kuningas, partnered by Inga Klauson. They beat compatriots Alar Vooglaid and Kirsti Vildrop into second place by 2.8 seconds, confirming Estonia's pre-eminence in the field of wife carrying.

The world wife carrying championships were established in the small central Finnish town of Sonkajarvi in 1992 as a homage to the local custom of stealing women from neighboring villages. Since then it has grown to such an extent that the population of the town doubles during the event, largely thanks to the arrival of the world's media.

The event is now an essential date on the world diary of bizarre sports, along with English cheese rolling, Welsh bog snorkelling and the spectacular mud pit belly flopping of the U.S. Redneck Games.