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Finnish competition 'heating up'

While the weather in the UK remains resolutely inclement, holidaymakers could decide to head over to Finland for a scorching vacation.

Next weekend (August 3rd - 4th), the small town of Heinola in southern Finland plays host to the World Sauna Championships.

Strange as it may seem, the event sees 80 participants from 16 countries competing to be recognised as the best sauna user in the world.

Competitors must sit bolt upright in a sauna heated to 110 centigrade with "buttocks and thighs on the seat". Every 30 seconds half a litre of water is added to the coals to continually increase the steaming heat effect.

The winner of the event is the last person to leave the sauna without aide. In 2003, Timo Kaukonen set a record by remaining in the hot box for 16 minutes and 15 seconds, reports.

Around 3,000 spectators are expected to travel to the town for what promises to be one of the summer's hottest competitions.

Holidaymakers who decide to visit Finland can also enjoy the country's beautiful scenery and exciting summer sports like golfing, fishing and kayaking.

This is what the Lonely Planet has to say about Finland in the summer: "During the months of the midnight sun, coastal regions are a sailing and fishing paradise.

"Inland, the largest unspoilt wilderness in Europe attracts thousands of trekkers every year. In the south, the capital Helsinki is a paradise for lovers of art and architecture."

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