Vytautas Kirkliauskas and his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene came out on top. (Twitter/@OkyZen)
A Lithuanian couple won the World Wife-Carrying Championship in the Finnish town of Sonkajarvi for a second straight year on Saturday. The championship draws many participants every year to the town that has only 4,000 residents. In the competition, men complete an obstacle course with their wives slung over their shoulders.
Vytautas Kirkliauskas and his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene stood first, completing a 253.5 metre (277 yards) obstacle course featuring a water trap in 1 minute and 6 seconds. They beat six-time champion Taisto Miettinen of Finland and his partner Katja Kovanen by a margin of 0.1 seconds. In 2018, they competed against 38 couples from 13 countries and won the competition. The Lithuanian couple claimed the first-place prize - consisting of the wife’s weight in beer.
''I was looking at the watch and I thought I’m not going to make it, but we did it,'' Kirkliauskas told a news agency.
The rules stipulate that the woman must be over 17 years of age and weigh at least 49 kilograms (108 pounds). Also, couples don't have to be married.
Interestingly, the competition has been going on for 24 years and has gained a following in many countries. While the main tournament is organised just once a year in Finland, countries such as the United States, Australia, Poland, and Britain have organised preliminary championships in the past.