This bizarre competition has been dubbed the world’s slowest race – where competitors try to smoke cigars for the longest time.
Seventeen men and five women took part in the annual Cigar Smoking World Championship event in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 27.
The smokers each have two matches and an identical cigar, which once lit they have to smoke slower than everyone else to keep it alight for the longest time possible – without dropping any ash.
Mikael Petersson from Sweden eventually won the tournament with a nail-biting finish after smoking his cigar for a staggering one hour and 47 minutes – seven seconds ahead of runner-up Paul Pooole.
He said: ‘’I started competitive cigar smoking seven years ago. Before that I had been doing this for many, many years with pipe smoking. Pipe smoking has been around for 50 years, but this was new and I was very happy to join.
‘’I like everything about cigars. I’ve been smoking them for 25 years now, even more. I started when I was 15, 16 years old.’’
At the start of the competition, smokers were given one minute to cut their cigar during which time they could check how well the stogie, a Macanudo Inspirado Marevas, had been rolled.
They were allowed just two matches to light their cigar and after that they were then allowed to light it again, but must keep it smouldering without the ash dropping. If ash drops, penalty minutes were deducted.
Competitors were still a long way from reaching the world record of three hours and 40 minutes but organiser Marco Bilik said he was pleased with the event.
The winner of the Thailand heat will now take part in the grand final in Split, Croatia in September.
Marco said: ‘’The cigar smoking world championship is a fair play discipline for gentleman and ladies. We’re here to have fun. The main point is to light your cigar and keep your cigar for as long as possible.
‘’The winner is the one who is the slowest, in the slowest race on earth.’’