The death of a sauna championship finalist has spelled the end of the World Sauna Championships, which have been held in Finland since 1999.

Sauna contestant Vladimir Ladyzhensky, who was in his 60s, boiled as the temperature in the sauna hit 110C (230F).

The Russian sauna championship finalist was attempting to beat Finnish rival Timo Kaukonen, 40, to win the competition.

However, both men collapsed during the stand-off in Heionol, Finland, home of the annual World Sauna Championships. They were rushed to hospital with severe burns and Vladimir later died.

Last night Heionol’s cultural secretary Saija Jappinen said the annual contest would be scrapped.

World Sauna Championships

What were the World Sauna Championships

  • The Championships were first held in 1999.
  • In recent years, contestants from 20 countries have taken part.
  • All competitors were required to sign a form agreeing not to take legal action against the organizers.
  • Sauna bathing at extreme conditions is a severe health risk. The Finnish Sauna Society opposed the event.

Here are the World Sauna Championship rules:

   * Use of alcohol is prohibited prior to and during the competition.
   * Competitors must wash themselves beforehand, and remove any creams and lotions.
   * Competitor must sit erect, their buttocks and thighs on the bench.
   * Ordinary swimsuits must be used. Pant legs in men’s swimsuits may be up to 20 centimeters long, and women’s shoulder straps may be up to 5 centimeters wide.
   * Hair that reaches the shoulders must be tied into a ponytail.
   * Touching the skin and brushing is prohibited.
   * Competitors must not disturb each other.
   * When the Judges ask, competitors must show that they are in their senses with a thumbs up.
   * Competitors must be able to leave the sauna unaided to qualify.
   * A breach of the rules results in a warning. Another one results in disqualification.
   * The last person in the sauna is the winner.