Roman Khrennikov, Seungyeon Choi and KT CrossFit Kolesnikov Continue Dominance Through Day 2
“Moving Day” came and went on Saturday but it didn’t affect the leaderboard at the inaugural Far East Throwdown. The top two spots in each division, the coveted NOBULL CrossFit Games qualifying spots, stayed the same inside the 2nd Exhibition Hall of BEXCO in Busan, South Korea.
A perfect day: Seungyeon Choi went a perfect two-for-two on Saturday, winning both events. She has won all four events thus far in the Semifinal and is setting herself up to make history if she completes the clean sweep with two more wins on Sunday. She will join Tia-Clair Toomey as the only individual athlete to win every event in their Games qualifying competition.
She opened the day with a time of 4:00 in “2014 Regional Workout 5”, :07 seconds ahead of Shahad Budebs, who many thought would be the favorite to win the event. In the second event of the day, “Short or Long,” a grueling chipper that featured 200 double-unders, 100 feet handstand walk and finishing with a snatch ladder that ended with 165 LBs. Choi again won by :07 seconds.
Choi’s streak of event wins actually sits at five if you factor in her Quarterfinal event win in the final workout.
This year’s version of Choi is a totally different athlete than the one that seemed overmatched and lost in her Games debut last year. Her confidence appears to be the biggest factor in her development. The 23-year old Korean will no doubt put on a show for her home crowd on the final day and she’s no longer content with just being a Games athlete, she wants to make some noise in Madison when she gets that Games invite.
A race in the men’s field: Kuwaiti Nasser Alruwayeh was the talk of the Semifinal with his surprising Day 1 performance. How would he respond when put in the same heat with the top athletes in the region, specifically Roman Khrennikov? He answered the call with two top-5 finishes including a third place finish in “Short or Long”, finishing just :02 seconds away from a runner-up placement, checking the box on his gymnastics ability. In “2014 Regional Workout 5”, he showed his size was not a disadvantage in the legless rope climbs as he placed fifth, just :03 seconds away from the third spot.
Alruwayeh is just 12 points out of Khrennikov’s lead but holds just a four point lead over Russian Artur Semenov who had a huge second day, winning two events. He just missed out on setting the world record in “2014 Regional Workout 5”, finishing in 2:36, :03 seconds off the world record time set by William Leahy IV last week at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge.
The three athletes have separated from the pack and Day 3 will be an interesting race for the two Games spots.
Seher separating from the pack: After Choi, the women’s field is filled with relatively unknown athletes but one athlete that stood out to many who follow the sport is Turkey’s Seher Kaya. The 24-year old is firmly entrenched in second place, holding a 32 point lead over Budebs and trailing Choi by 40 points.
Kaya has not finished outside the top-5 including a runner-up finish to Choi in the final event of the day. Though young and unknown, Kaya has the backing of CrossFit great Kristin Holte who coaches Kaya out of CrossFit Elverum in Norway under Holte’s Kriger Training.
Chasing perfection: KT CrossFit Kolesnikov Team, like Choi, is chasing a record of their own as they have remained perfect with event wins. A clean run through their semifinal will put them in the company of CrossFit Mayhem Freedom and CrossFit Reykjavik who were perfect at each of their respective Semifinals.
They are firmly in the driver’s seat with a 40 point lead over CrossFit Yas Black and a 85 point lead over CrossFit Alioth. Speaking of Alioth, team member Denis Catana matched the record for biggest lift in the “Snatch Ladder.” The 36-year old from the United Kingdom put up a weight of 310 pounds, tying him with CrossFit Hype’s Evan Nathan who put up the same weight at the Granite Games on Friday.