Uplifting wife carrying win for Kerry couple

A POST-GRADUATE student and his beautician wife beat off stiff competition on a challenging obstacle course to win by two seconds at the annual wife carrying championships in Sneem, Co Kerry, at the weekend.

The Irish wife carrying event has become world famous with previous winners taking part in the world championships in Finland, the country of origin of wife carrying.

Anthony Greaney from Killarney and his actual wife, Frances — wife carrying can involve friends rather than spouses — completed the water and obstacle course in a winning time of one minute and 14 seconds in the championships, sponsored by Paddy Power bookmakers.

The couple won €1,000.

“We had lost by just 1.8 seconds last year and we were determined to win this year,” said Mr Greaney, who is completing his masters in business enterprise at Tralee Institute of Technology.

Festival organiser Stephanie O’Sullivan said 20 couples had entered this year in what was a longer and a more challenging course. The course, modelled on international standards in Finland and the US, where wife carrying is also a serious sport, included a slippery silage bale obstacle and a water feature in which the couple had to jump into a one-metre-deep dyke.

The competition allows for a variety of carrying styles, including piggyback and “Estonian” style — in which the woman hangs upside down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, while holding on to his waist.

At the end of the course the wife is “thrown” onto a mattress.

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