With the Cigar Smoking World Championship qualification rounds in Kuwait and Lebanon being cancelled the only competition in the Middle East this year was the one in Qatar. So one could argue the winner was not just the Qatari champion, but also the Arab champion, and he was… American.
The event was held in the Blue Cigar Lounge of Raffles, the newest and most luxurious hotel in Qatar, located in the Lusail area in Doha. More than 7,000 books on the walls made for a very welcoming and inspiring ambiance for the 27 competitors, which was four more than last year and 26 more than in 2021(!).
None of the top three were the same as last year. David De La Garza from the US broke the Qatari record of 1 hour and 24 minutes, held by Aram Mankuyan, when he outsmoked the rest. In fact, everyone in the top three did, so it wasn’t all smooth sailing for De La Garza. His winning time of 1 hour 40 minutes and 21 seconds was just 21 seconds better than that of the runner-up, Abdulrahman Al Sayed. Daoud Yousef from Lebanon took third place at 1 hour 37 minutes and 40 seconds.
1. David De La Garza 1:40.21
2. Abdulrahman Al Sayed 1:40:00
3. Daoud Yousef 1:37:40