Kristoffer Ekersund is no ordinary 24-year-old from Övertorneå, a northern border town between Sweden and Finland. He is also the world's foremost catcher – and destroyer – of mosquitoes.
In its second year running, Saturday's world championships saw the 42 contestants show off their best swatting techniques. Ekersund took home the title after killing 135 mosquitoes in 15 minutes.
When The Local caught up with the Swedish champion, he was pleased about his victory, but remained rather unfazed by the obvious dangers of the contest.
“Mosquito bites just itch, so it's not too bad. But I think I got bitten around 200 times in those 15 minutes,” said Ekersund.
He revealed that the secret to a successful run is to keep your eye on the target while maintaining a strong defensive line. Let your enemy come to you, in other words.
“Dark clothes, sweaty, stand still and be light on the touch. But I don't want to reveal too much because I intend to win next year too,” he said after claiming his 10,000 kronor ($1154) winnings
No competition without a trophy. Photo: Private/TT
Tens of thousands of mosquitoes invade large parts of northern Sweden every year, making the summers so intolerable that the government has previously invested millions of kronor to fight the surging population.
In Övertorneå, the unofficial world championships were launched in 2015 after the municipality was denied permission to launch biological warfare on the bloodthirsty pests.
Ekersund himself hopes the competion can create a different kind of buzz in the area.
“I've got a lot of attention from both newspapers and radio, which I think is really great,” he said. “I hope to promote Övertorneå so that more people come to visit us to see how amazing it is here. Perhaps we'll get more contestants next year?”