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Finland’s latest odd sporting event: Ice fishing World Championships

Fishing through a hole in the ice joins the list of unusual competitions that include the world championships of swamp soccer, wife carrying and kick sledding.

Ice fishing: set to be a new world championship event Image: Emma Pietarila/Yle

In Sami and Tanja Niemimuukko’s field in the countryside near Lappeenranta close to the Russia border lies the spot on a frozen lake where the first-ever world ice fishing championships will be held on 16 February.

"We've received a lot of support on social media, and it looks as though a group will be coming from Russia to compete," says Sami Niemimuukko.

He says that the championship of ice fishing will be organised and sponsored by local businesses and organizations, as well as individuals.

Joining in series of unusual competitions

Sami Niemimuukko believes ice fishing will take its place among the other unusual and original Finnish sporting events that raise interest around the world. These include the world championships in swamp soccer, wife carrying, kick sledding, ice swimming, and rubber boot throwing.

The idea of a new sporting event started with a conversation between friends around the coffee table.

"We were sitting and thinking of all the events that have been organised and the idea of ice fishing came up," says Sami Niemimuukko. "It fits in well with (the tradition of) swamp soccer and wife carrying," he says.

According to the organiser's website, the two and a half hour competition ends with weighing each ice fisher’s catch. The jury then meets and decides who the top six ice fishers are. The main prize is a car, and, of course, the title of first-ever world’s best ice fisher.

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