Organizers say police are investigating the death of a Russian finalist at the World Sauna Championships in Finland. The man died late on Saturday, whilst his Finnish rival was rushed to hospital, suffering from burns.
The death caused shock among spectators
Police are investigating the death of a Russian finalist at the annual World Sauna Championships in Finland.
Vladimir Lazyzhenskiy apparently collapsed after spending some six minutes in a sauna heated to a scorching 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit). He later died in hospital.
The sauna competition requires participants to withstand the high temperatures for as long as possible. According to the rules, water is added to the stove every 30 seconds. The last person in the sauna wins the title.
Dozens of competitors were whittled down to two, but judges noticed something was wrong and dragged Lazyzhenskiy and fellow finalist, Timo Kaukonen out of the sauna.
Kaukonen, from Finland, was taken to hospital suffering from severe burns. Lazyzhenskiy died late on Saturday.
The chief organizer of the event, Ossi Arvela, told reporters that all necessary precautions had been taken.
"All the rules were followed and there were enough first aid personnel. All the competitors needed to sign in to the competition with a doctor's certificate," he said.
The World Sauna Championships have been held every year since 1999 in Heinola, a small town 138 kilometers (85 miles) northeast of Helsinki. Organizers have decided not to stage the event again.
Author: Joanna Impey (AP/dpa/Reuters)
Editor: Sonia Phalnikar