Lithuanian couple crowned wife-carrying world champions in Hungary


Stills taken from a Reuters video of Lithuanian couple participating in the contest.
Stills taken from a Reuters video of Lithuanian couple participating in the contest.

A couple from Lithuania won a fun competition in which the husband races while carrying the wife in scorching temperatures through water ditches and over the hay bales of Hungary.

In the wife-carrying contest, the men have to complete an obstacle course with their wives slung over their shoulders.

Fifteen couples raced through a 260-metre-long obstacle course which was organised for the fourth time in the Hungarian village of Tapiobicske.

Most couples participating in the game chose the piggyback technique, but the winners used so-called “Estonian carry”.

“We use Estonian carry — when the wife goes on your shoulders. And we kiss each other before the race and after the race and I think that’s the most important to have a good person in your life and do the things you do together, compete together, train together, make trips together so we are very happy,” Vytauras Kirkliauskas said.

He hung his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene upside-down holding onto his waist with her legs around his shoulders.

“The most important thing for the wife is to hold very tight on the husband’s back because he is going through obstacles, he is bouncing, she needs to hold tight,” Neringa said.

It may be noted that this is not the first time the two have won the contest, as they were crowned the wife-carrying world champions back in 2018 and 2019 as well.

The idea of wife-carrying as a sport was inspired by the 19th-century legend of Ronkainen the Robber, who tested aspiring members of his gang by forcing them to carry sacks of grain or live pigs over a similar course.

It is said to have origins dating back to the Viking age. In modern times, the tradition is particularly established in Finland, where it has taken place since the 1990s.

The championship is also believed to be stemming from an even earlier practice of wife-stealing — leading many present-day contestants to compete with someone else’s wife.


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