Estonia holds mosquito-catching championship The eyes of the world may be focused on the football in South Africa, but it's not the only gripping sporting contest going on at the moment - Estonia has just held its first ever mosquito-catching championship.
16th June 2010
The pest control contest in the small Baltic state saw 37 competitors gather in a field in the city of Tartu. They were given 10 minutes to catch as many mosquitoes as possible in a small, designated area.
'We have many mosquitoes and we must fight them somehow, so we decided to organise a mosquito-catching championship,' said the event's organiser, Triinu Akkermann. The competition rules allowed for the mosquitoes to be captured dead or alive, and competitors were allowed to work either alone or in teams of three.
The competitors had a range of tactics worked out - with one, Jevgeny Serov, telling Reuters: We will warm up so we will start sweating a little then I will stand with bare hands and feet and my wife and daughter will pick mosquitoes off me. But eventually emerging triumphant was mosquito-catcher supreme Rauno Luksepp, who managed to take out 38 mosquitoes while getting repeatedly bitten to win the first prize of a sailing trip on Estonia's Lake Peipus.
The idea of the contest came from Finland, where there have been mosquito-catching championships in the past.
Russian contestant dies in searing 225-degree heat at World Sauna Championships
8th August 2010
The Sauna World Championships ended in tragedy at the weekend when one of the two finallists collapsed and died. Vladimir Ladyzhenskiy, a Russian amateur wrestler in his 60s, suffered severe burns in the bizarre annual event in the southern Finnish town of Heinola. He was pronounced dead late on Saturday after he collapsed alongside reigning champion Timo Kaukonen of Finland roughly six minutes into the final round.
The 'sport' calls on participants to sit in a 230-degree (110 Celsius) room as water was tossed onto a searing stove, officials and witnesses said. Medical workers pulled both men out of the sauna in front of nearly 1,000 horrified spectators. Both were shaking and bleeding from what appeared to be severe burns, said Hakon Eikesdal, a photographer with the Norwegian daily Dagbladet. Kaukonen, about 40, was hospitalised in stable condition Sunday, contest spokesman Ossi Arvela said.
The event, which had over 130 participants from 15 countries, had been held since 1999. It will never be held again, Arvela said. A pint of water is added to the stove every 30 seconds and the last person to remain at the sauna is the winner. There was no prize other than 'some small things' Arvela said. He declined to provide details. Arvela said Kaukonen - the defending world champion - had refused to leave the sauna despite getting sick.
Sauna bathing is a popular past-time in Finland, which has an estimated 1.6 million saunas for a population of 5 million. Temperatures are normally kept around 158 to 176 degrees (70-80 degrees Celsius).
'I know this is very hard to understand to people outside Finland who are not familiar with the sauna habit,' Arvela said. 'It is not so unusual to have 110 degrees in a sauna. A lot of competitors before have sat in higher temperatures than that.' Arvala said all rules in Saturday's competition were followed and the temperatures and times were similar to those in previous years. He said police are investigating the death.
110c? What the blistering hell would you want to sit in that for? But hey, at least he died doing something he loved - pity it was being boiled to death.
Puzzling skydive as man completes Rubik’s Cube at 2,500m, in a dinghy As if the Rubik’s Cube wasn’t hard enough, Ludwig Fichte completed the puzzle while skydiving. In a rubber dinghy. It’s reasonable to ask: Was he high?
Well, he was in one sense. He jumped out of a plane at 4,300 metres. His boat was held in place by two helper skydivers and the student cracked the Cube with a satisfying 2,500 metres to spare. So he had plenty of time to deploy his parachute, float safely to the ground, and relax in the knowledge that the YouTube video of his exploits were guaranteed to take off.
Fichte said: ‘Solving the Rubik's Cube in freefall has been done before by three people, as far as I know. But I am the first to do it in a rubber boat.’ Well, that’s great, Fichte. What will your next trick be? Doing a sudoku puzzle while being chased by tigers? We waited with baited breath.
In the meantime, check out the plane crazy YouTube video of Fichte’s Rubik’s Cube antics:
Bourton-on-the-Water's Football in the River match makes a splash Football matches are normally called off if the pitch is too waterlogged - except in Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds, where two teams took part in the annual Football in the River match on Monday.
The annual six-a-side football match takes place in the ankle-deep water of the River Windrush in Bourton, Gloucester - and has a history that dates back a century. The two teams - Bourton Rovers First Eleven and Bourton Rovers Second Eleven - took part on the 30 minute match on Bank Holiday Monday, as hundreds of spectators gathered on the river banks to watch.
It's not entirely clear how the idea of playing a football match in a river first got started, but the tradition has reportedly been going strong for around 100 years. The match, which raises funds for Bourton Rovers Football Club, regularly draws thousands of fans to watch - who are advised to wear waterproofs if they plan on standing close to the side of the 'pitch'
Pumpkin paddlers race at German pumpkin festival A German festival dedicated to celebrating all things pumpkiny has kicked off with a traditonal race - with competitors paddling giant, hollowed-out pumpkins across a lake.
The traditional pumpkin race takes place as part of the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival - which every year works to spread the joy of the world of pumpkins, in order to mark the start of the German pumpkin season.
The contestants in the pumpkin race have to paddle the huge, hollowed-out pumpkin across Ludwigsburg Castle lake - in front of the imposing backdrop and stately architecture of the former royal palace. The enormous pumpkins can weigh over 200lb (90kg) before having their tops cut off and their flesh scooped out to turn them into functioning boats.
The pumpkin racing isn't the only element that makes up the pumpkin festival - pumpkin growers also compete in a more traditional 'grow the largest pumpkin' contest, which this year festival-goers have had the chance to look at a giant statue of a seahorse made out of pumpkins.
Pumpkin enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that the pumpkin festival - said to be the largest pumpkin festival in the world - continues until early November.
Stiletto relay race sets new world record A team of four women showed the opposition a clean pair of heels by setting a world record for the fastest relay race in stilettos.
The Australian sports students – who called themselves the Pinkettes – completed the 80m (263ft) course in 1min 4sec, while wearing 7.5cm (3in) heels. They beat 100 other women in the race in Sydney which raised money for breast cancer research. Darren Kelly, the sole male entrant to strap on a pair of size-eight heels, did not have to shave his hairy legs.
The 'Venus Embrace Closest Stiletto Relay' took place at Sydney's Circular Quay in the shadow of the Opera House.] It was Brittney McGlone who romped home first in the event in 2008, and she now plans to head to Phuket, Thailand with fellow Pinkettes Laura Juliff, Casey Hodges and Jessica Penny.
Hurdling champion McGlone told reporters before the run that the secret to sprinting in heels is to get up on your toes. Former Miss Australia Erin McNaught was on hand to ensure that all heels measured at least 7.5cm - and that everyone's legs were sufficiently smooth (except for Darren's, that is).
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