CrossFit Games

Dubai Takes Things Outside the Box on Day 1

December 12, 2019 by
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Offsite events can be a tricky thing for Sanctionals. For the larger events like the Dubai CrossFit Championship, it’s all but guaranteed that there will be an offsite event that sprinkles in some geographical or cultural significance that’s unique to the area. This year is no different, as the first day of competition in Dubai featured two separate offsite events in different locations for both individuals and teams.

A quick history lesson: Each of the last two years, the event has included a mixed modal swim event, along with a long run out in the desert surrounding the city. The events also introduced some new twists to spice up the difficulty level and environment.

  • Two years ago, the individual swim and bike couplet event was uniquely scored in two parts. One score was the total time for the entire workout, the second was each athlete’s slowest 1,000 meter bike segment ranked against the field.
  • Last year as the first Sanctioned event, the swim for individuals and teams moved to the Jumeirah Al Qaser Layali Beach that sits next to the world-famous Burj Al Arab Jumeriah and fans were treated to spectacular views of one of Dubai’s premier landmarks.

This year, the offsite programming includes a mixture of the previous year’s nuance, but with an entirely new venue. They’ve traded the sand dunes for a beautiful world-class outdoor track at the NAS Sports complex along with returning to the beach overlooking the Burj Al Arab. There are three total scored events for individuals, and four for teams between the locations.

Jumeirah Mina Al Salam Beach

The first offsite venue was a return to the beach overlooking the Burj Al Arab Hotel. An unusual heavy rain caused a slight delay in the beginning before giving way to sunny skies and calm waters for the swim.

  • Team event 1: Each member completes 150-meter swim in relay fashion. Time cap was 15 minutes, and the minimum work requirement was two teammates finishing the swim.
  • Individual event 1: 20 sandbag cleans, 150m swim, 10 cleans, 150m swim, 5 cleans, 150m swim. Time cap was 15 minutes with no minimum work requirement.

How it played out: Based on the times for each swim interval, the 150m swim was actually closer to 200m which put everyone up against the time cap. No teams finished, while only two men and women each finished under the cap. The scoring of the event used only one checkpoint during the swim for a tiebreaker and it was the second of two buoys that was roughly two-thirds of the way into the swim. As a result, there was a significant amount of ties in all divisions between athletes that in reality did vastly different amounts of work. Seven teams tied for first place, 14 women tied for 8th place, and 19 men tied for 7th place in the workout. Scoring oversights aside, it was a classic Dubai offsite workout with the Burj looming in the background.

NAS Sports Complex

Athletes were left in the dark as to the venue and location of the event before the buses pulled up to the NAS sports complex – a world-class sports training and rehabilitation center belonging to the crown prince of Dubai where professional teams from all over the world come to train and rehab during the winter.

  • Team event 2: A simple three round triplet of a 400m run, 30m Worm lunge, and 30m handstand walk that the entire team had to complete. Time cap 15 minutes.
  • Team event 3 and 4: Two-part workout for the teams, same-gender pairs tackle a triplet chipper of rowing, double unders, and moderate load snatches before maxing out their 1 rep snatch. Male pairs go then female pairs go.
  • Individual event 2 and event 3: 1 kilometer bike erg, 1200 meter run, 1 km bike, 800 meter run, 1 km bike, 400 meter run. Event 2 was scored as the total time to complete the work, event 3 was each athlete’s slowest 1 kilometer bike interval ranked against the field.

How it played out: Team event 2 had another aggressive time cap, and according to programmer Rich Froning, the goal was to “highlight the best teams in the field.” The event did just that with MisFit P10 Performance and We Got Cake – two of the favorites coming in – were the only teams to finish. In the final two-part workout to close the day, MisFit kept their streak of event wins going by blasting both portions of the chipper head into the max snatch portion with all the momentum. That streak would come to an end at the hands of Mia Hesketh, and Alexander Elebro who lifted 100kg and 140kg respectively to lift Team Prepared to an event win.

Individuals took the field for their two-part workout and in the lead up there was a ton of speculation amongst athletes about how to attack the workout. Most were deciding between going for broke on the bike intervals of event 3, or pacing to try and maximize their placement in the overall time of event 2.  Speaking to a host of athletes prior to the event, everyone agreed that it was a prime opportunity for Roman Khrennikov to shine. The man in line to be the Russian national champion didn’t disappoint, finishing both events in second to be the only athlete to finish both of the scored pieces in the top 3. Sam Briggs did Khrennikov one better, taking the win in the overall time, and a second-place finish in the bike interval. The strong finishes catapulted both athletes into the overall lead.

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