Dubai Fitness Championship: Men’s Preview
The men’s field at the 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship will feature some of the biggest names in the sport, with half of the competitors bringing CrossFit Games experience to the competition floor. Joining these fan-favorites are six athletes that could provide an upset at Dubai, along with ten competitors looking to take the big step in qualifying for their first CrossFit Games in 2023.
The big names:
- Brent Fikowski: Coming off a win at ELFIT, Fikowski has finished on the CrossFit Games podium twice and inside the top five in four of his seven appearances. He won the Dubai Fitness Championship back in 2019 and has a strong chance of being crowned champion for the second time.
- Jonne Koski: After finishing 15th at the 2022 CrossFit Games, Koski most recently took 11th place at the Rogue Invitational. Koski has finished inside the top 10 in four of his eight CrossFit Games appearances. His incredible consistency and balanced fitness make him one of the top threats on the men’s side of the competition.
- Khan Porter: This past weekend, Porter finished second in the team division at the Down Under Championship. Last season, he finished fourth at the CrossFit Games in the team division, showcasing his incredible progress after a season with coach Jami Tikkanen and the Reykjavík training crew. With only 11 days of rest between the Down Under Championship and Dubai, Porter will be a major threat if he’s able to recover from the time change and post-competition fatigue.
- Lazar Djukic: After finishing in 8th place at the 2022 CrossFit Games, Djukic has had a busy offseason leading up to Dubai. He took first at the Madrid Championship in September, followed by a 20th place finish at the Rogue Invitational in late October. Djukic suffered an ankle injury during Rogue, limiting his ability to showcase his fitness and compete at a level he’s accustomed to. If Djukic is healthy for Dubai, his well-rounded fitness makes him one of the top contenders for a spot on the podium.
Athletes to watch:
- Giorgos Karavis: After finishing in 37th place at the 2022 CrossFit Games, Karavis is poised as a top five threat for Dubai. He finished seventh at Dubai in 2021, and brings the experience of competing in two CrossFit Games to one of the broadest programmed off-season events.
- Moritz Fiebig: Coming off a recent win at the German Throwdown, Fiebig shows no signs of slowing down heading into the 2023 season. He finished in 36th place for his rookie season at the 2022 CrossFit Games and has experience competing at Dubai, taking 15th place back in 2021.
- Briant Guillaume: In his rookie season, Guillaume finished 26th at the 2022 CrossFit Games.
- Luka Djukic: Last season, Djukic finished just 16 points outside of a podium spot at the Lowlands Throwdown Semifinal. He may not have qualified in 2022, but he does have CrossFit Games experience, finishing in 29th place for his rookie season in 2021.
- Simon Mantyla: Bringing CrossFit Games experience on the individual and team side, Mantyla is an athlete to watch at the Dubai Fitness Championship. He finished in eighth place with team CrossFit Solid back in 2016, and 45th during his individual debut in 2019 at the CrossFit Games.
- Nikita Yundov: Ricky Garard’s replacement at the 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship will be Nikita Yundov. He has limited CrossFit Games experience, finishing 101th in 2019 where he was cut after just one event. He most recently competed at the 2022 Lowlands Throwdown Semifinal, finishing in 14th place overall.
Looking for a breakthrough:
- Aniol Ekai: Back in September, Ekai finished an impressive second place at the Madrid Championship. Prior to this breakout performance, he finished 13th at the 2021 German Throwdown Semifinal.
- Alex Kotoulas: Back in September, Kotoulas took fourth at the Madrid Championship, also finishing 11th at the French Throwdown back in June.
- Victor Hoffer: The 19 year old recently had an impressive fifth place finish at the German Throwdown. Back in June, he placed 13th at the French Throwdown.
- Michal Wesolowski: Back in September, Wesolowski finished in 10th place at the German Throwdown.
- Damian Martinez Satorres: This past season, Martinez Satorres finished 24th at the Lowlands Throwdown Semifinal. He most recently finished 20th at the Madrid Championship.
- Fabian Beneito Selles: This past season, Beneito finished 8th at the Lowlands Throwdown Semifinal and took 19th in the Last Chance Qualifier.
- Luka Vunjak: This past season, Vunkak finished in 9th place at the Lowlands Throwdown Semifinal.
- Reggie Fasa: This past season, Fasa finished in 10th place at the Strength in Depth Semifinal.
- Javier Gonzalez: This past season, Gonzalez finished 174th worldwide in the CrossFit Open. He competed in a Semifinal back in 2021, finishing 29th at the German Throwdown.
- Vladimir Sechin: This past season, Sechin finished 221st worldwide in the CrossFit Open. Back in 2021, Sechin finished 11th at the Asia Invitational Semifinal.
The bottom line: The broad range of events often tested at Dubai will give any athlete with CrossFit Games experience a major advantage. The men’s field could have two different races happening simultaneously, the podium race and the fight for top 10. There will definitely be some leaderboard shuffling early on, but who will prove their fitness late in the weekend to take home the gold?
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