A Russian man died in the final of the world sauna championships in Finland after spending six minutes sweltering in temperatures of 110C.

Dozens of competitors were whittled down to just two, but six minutes into the final judges noticed something was wrong with Russian champion Vladimir Lazyzhenskiy.

They dragged him and Finnish finalist Timo Kaukonen from the sauna, but Mr Lazyzhenskiy was later pronounced dead.

One witness said that both men appeared to suffer serious burns.

The world sauna championships, where competitors try to outlast others in the heat and steam, have been held 12 times in Heinola, 138km northeast of Finland's capital Helsinki.

The event was immediately suspended after the incident. Police are investigating the cause of Mr Lazyzhenskiy's death.

The competition's organisers have insisted that all the rules were followed and all contestants underwent a health check before the competition began.