Siberia's novel reward for shedding the pounds - coal
Published 24/12/2015 | 12:36
Shedding the pounds in Siberia can come with a particularly welcome reward - coal.
When the long-serving - and somewhat overweight - governor of Russia's Kemerovo region Aman Tuleyev promised earlier this year to reward locals with 1,500kg of coal for every 10kg of weight lost, everyone thought it was a joke.
But Mr Tuleyev made good on his promise when Yelena Salnikova, a nurse from the small town of Berezovskiy, got a truck full of the black stuff from authorities in the coal-rich region for losing 30kg (about 4st 7lb).
"I had insomnia, headaches, I could hardly climb stairs to the fourth floor," 43-year-old Ms Salnikova told Mir television.
Her ensuing decision to lose some weight paid dividends when local authorities brought a truck to Ms Salnikova's coal shed and gave her a framed "coal certificate" for losing weight.
The nurse, who went on a diet and started working out after her weight hit 112kg (over 17st) in July, said she had to buy a new wardrobe for the winter season and was happy to save money on heating.
"This will save me up to 8,000 roubles (£75) if it is colder than -30C (-22F) and will surely last for at least half the winter," Ms Salnikova said in televised remarks before she began to shovel the coal into buckets.
A Kemerovo government spokesman said on Twitter that authorities are going to turn the "slimming down for coal" programme into a reality TV show which is due to hit screens in January.