The Tiger on Top as the Champion Flops

It was hard to pick a headline for the Swedish Cigar Smoking World Championship qualifier this year. Was it going to be the amazing comeback of The Swedish Tiger, or the early exit of the last three years’ national champion, Zeke? As you can see, I chose both.

Sweden has long been a force to be reckoned with in the CSWC. Igor Kovacic, also known as The Swedish Tiger, held the world record for many years before Klaudia Ide beat it last year. Henrik Kristensson won the grand final in 2021 and finished 4th last year. Mikael “Zeke” Zander has continuously performed well in the qualifiers, although never quite making it all the way on the world stage. To name a few.

This year’s qualifier took place in Helsingborg, and according to CSWC Ambassador and judge, Pierre Gustavsson, it was “a night of thrills and skills”.

“It was a resounding success, filled with moments of intense competition, camaraderie, and exceptional cigar smoking prowess,” he says.

With Kovacic back after a few years absence, the stage was set for an intense battle between the aforementioned three, but that showdown came to an abrupt end as Zeke’s cigar extinguished after just half an hour. An enormous disappointment for the defending champion of course, but it was still going to be a race of three as Peter Gustafsson wasted no time displaying his talent in his first really serious attempt at competitive slow smoking. 2 hours 51 minutes and 41 seconds is not a bad time for a “rookie”, and in the end it secured him a third place.

With the two remaining favorites left the competition became more and more intense, and in the end Kovacic made a comeback of the ages when he took home the title at an impressive 3 hours 21 minutes and 46 seconds. Kristensson would’ve been just three minutes behind hadn’t he received a 15 minute penalty for burning the ring. Still, another three-hour performance by the former world champion shows he’s going to be in the running this year as well.

Igor Kovacic 3:21:46
Henrik Kristensson 3:03:52
Peter Gustavsson 2:51:41

The post The Tiger on Top as the Champion Flops first appeared on Cigar Journal.

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