Uncertainty Abounds for Men Heading into Final Day of Dubai Fitness Championship
After climbing the tallest building in the world the first day of competition, Day 2 at the Dubai FItness Championships at the Coca-Cola Arena took a completely different turn: A max hang clean. (Note: the leaderboard is unofficial until tomorrow.)
The details for Event 2: As is often the case with pure strength events, the men who came out on top weren’t the ones we expect to be on the podium at the end of the weekend. In fact, the top CrossFit Games athlete in the event was 2022 German rookie Moritz Fiebig, who finished third with a lift of 170 kg (374 pounds).
- Two 2022 Semifinals athletes—Fabian Beneito Selles of Spain and Reggie Fasa—finished first and second respectively. Both athletes hit 172.5 kg (379.5 pounds) before missing the final 175kg (385lb) barbell. Beneito Selles went on to beat Fasa in a tiebreaker—five reps at 220lb for time—giving Beneito Selles the event win.
- Podium contenders Khan Porter and Brent Fikowski were fifth and seventh in the event, lifting 167kg (367.4lb) and 165kg (363lb) respectively.
- Meanwhile, Lazar Djukic, also expected to contend, did himself no favors on the event. He placed 13th overall, digging himself an even deeper hole after struggling on Day 1 on the 160-floor stair climb at the Burj Khalifa, saying he didn’t eat breakfast that morning, causing him to bonk and collapse at the finish line in visible pain. But he still managed to do enough to stay ahead of his brother Luka Djukic, who placed 16th.
Event 3: Event 3—a three-round workout of SkiErg calories, toes-to-bar and snatches that decreased in reps but increased in weight each round—caused another leaderboard shuffle.
- Both Djukic brothers–Lazar and Luka–competed in the first heat and by the midway point they had opened up a lead, along with Giorgos Karavis.
- As they came to the final set of snatches, Luka Djukic was slightly ahead and cycled through the 10 reps, setting the time to beat at 15:06. Karavis finished second, followed by Lazar Djukic.
In the final heat, Victor Hoffer, the youngest athlete in the field at 19 years old opened up a slight lead into the second round of SkiErg calories, by the end of that round, though, Fikowski and Jonne Koski had taken over.
- As was the case all day, it came down to the final set of snatches, and using the somewhat unconventional split snatch, Fikowski took the heat win at 15:31, but that was only good enough for third overall in the event.
- Luka Djukic’s time from heat one held and the Serbian took the event win and 100 points.
Event 4: Heading into the final event of the day—a three round elimination-style event of calories on the Echo bike and legless rope climbs—Fikowski had the lead, but was tied in points with Fiebig, while Alex Kotoulas, the leader after Day 1, sat in third.
- Round 1: The first round involved 40 calories on the Echo bike followed by 4 legless rope climbs, where the top three men—Fikoswki, Fiebig and Kotoulas—all managed to advance to the second round, with FIebig winning the second heat and Fikowski finishing close behind in second.
- Round 2: In the second round—30 calories and 3 rope climbs—all five of the top times came from the second heat, with Luka Djukic edging out Fikowski by a few strides.
- Round 3: The same five guys—Fikoswki, Fiebig and Aniol Ekai and Djukic brothers—lined up once again in the final round, this time for a quick 20 calories and 2 rope climbs, and it was both Djukic brothers who put on a show. In the end, Lazar took the win, while his brother crossed the line photo finish-style, narrowly beating out Ekai for second. Fikowski and Fiebig rounded out the top five respectively.
The big picture: The men’s leaderboard heading into the final day of competition isn’t one many would have predicted. While Fikowski leading the way is no surprise, Fiebig—who was 36th at the Games last summer as a rookie—sitting in second is arguably more so, as is Ekai, a 2021 Semifinals athlete, who is sitting in fourth. Further, Lazar Djukic, who had a tough first two events, sits lower than expected, with his brother Luka, who he usually beats, two spots ahead in eighth.
That being said, the leaderboard is a tight one and there are still four events to go. Luka in eighth is just 30 points out of third, and Lazar is just 40, so any one of the top 10 men right now still has a legitimate spot at the podium, thus promising an exciting final day in Dubai.