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Finalist Dies in Sauna Competition

The “World Sauna Championships” in the Finnish city of Heinola came to a tragic end on Saturday evening when one of the finalists, a Russian man, died in the end stages of the competition. He was competing against a Finnish man who was hospitalised.

Löylykilpailun loppuvaiheessa ensiapupartiolla oli kaksi tehohoidettavaa potilasta.
Löylykilpailun vaiheet käydään seuraavaksi läpi poliisitutkinnassa. Sairaalahoidossa olevaa lahtelaismiestä poliisi ei ole voinut vielä kuulla. Image: Yle

The participants were competing over who could endure in the heat of the sauna the longest.

The tragic events of Saturday evening began to unfold when the final in the competition had been going on for six minutes, at which point both finalists went unconscious.

The Russian finalist died. The Finn was taken to hospital in Helsinki.

In the final, the contestants sat in a sauna that was heated to 110 degrees Celsius. Participants in the competition were required to submit to a medical examination, and during the competition they were asked at regular intervals if they were all right.

"Precautions Were Followed"

Organisers insist that safety precautions were followed. The competition was stopped as soon as it was noticed that something was wrong. Police are investigating the events.

Before the final, the Finnish finalist described the conditions as extremely hot.

“These have been damn hot saunas, and now the hottest is coming. After being in the sauna twice, my eyelids are red and my fingers have blisters. But I’m going in there again, gritting my teeth,” said finalist Timo Kaukonen.

No More Competitive Sauna Events

However, even though the exact cause of death remains unknown, the organisers have said that no more such competitions would be held.

News of the death in the finals of the sauna competition has made headlines worldwide. An item on the incident was the most-read European news item on the BBC’s web site.

Sources: YLE

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