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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Pipe smokers burn with ambition
Frenchman Philippe Foucher
French entrant Philippe Foucher puffs silently
Europeans took the top prizes at the 2001 World Pipesmoking Championships.


Many of the Europeans don't speak at all during the competition

Comite Internationale des Pipe Clubs spokesman
Contestants were given three grams of tobacco and two matches - and the challenge of keeping their pipes alight for the longest time.

The men's winner, Lubomir Cinka of the Czech Republic, kept his tobacco burning for just 14 seconds short of three hours - thought to be the longest time ever recorded.

Last year's Swiss winner held out for two hours 53 minutes and 15 seconds.

Mr Cinka's name was to be submitted to the Guinness Book of Records.

Peter Bersey from Islington, UK
Concentration: UK's Peter Bersey ekes out his ration
The women's contest was won by Italian Anna Borsellini with a time of two hours 50 seconds.

And three members of a pipe club from Italy, with a combined smoking time of six hours, 38 minutes and 55 seconds, took home the team prize.

"The competitors take this challenge very seriously," said a spokesman for the Comite Internationale des Pipe Clubs.

"Many of the Europeans don't speak at all during the competition, although the rules say that you can do so as long as your pipe is still burning."

More than 200 pipes were lit by entrants from countries across the world, including Canada, Poland, Denmark and Portugal.

The contest, being held in the UK for the first time, took place at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire.

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