Dubai Fitness Championship Emcee Omar Alsharhan Helping Bring Fitness to the Middle East
There is a special way that sporting announcers use their oratory talents to educate, entertain, and help make a live-viewing experience memorable.
Knowledge of the sport, and a knack for color commentary all add to the fluidity and excitement to the event during action and inaction on the workout floor.
Kuwaiti Omar Alsharhan tries to apply his play-by-play technique that was perfected during football (soccer) announcing to fitness competitions but aims to use his notoriety gained from big-ticket events like MCing the Dubai Fitness Championships to help inspire more people to get healthy.
Getting Started as a Fitness MC
What started as a joke between Alsharhan and his friends quickly turned into bigger opportunities.
- “Some of my friends were joking that since I know English and can speak Arabic, I should just MC the Battle of the East.” Omar explains.
- The Battle of the East, now the GIG Fitness Festival, is a Kuwait-based competition organized by Circuit + fitness, is one of the premiere competitions in the region.
“Before that, I was just doing small competitions… and because of how I did at the Battle, speaking both in Arabic and English, a lot of people noticed me, so I started doing loads of competitions and events with Red Bull, the banks in Kuwait, and then advanced to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Doha, and Dubai,” he says, smiling.
Sometimes all it takes is one event to notice potential, and the rest takes care of itself. Since his debut at the Battle of the East in 2017, Alsharhan has traveled from Kuwait to the Dubai Fitness Championships and various other competitions in the region. He truly infiltrated the CrossFit world, becoming a coach at his local gym, Flare Fitness in 2018 after being a member since 2014.
While coaching and teaching all provide Alsharhan with a platform to share the message and impact of fitness, he’s found that he has the largest impact while MCing.
Helping Kuwaitis Get Healthier
Kuwait, with a population of nearly 4.5 million boasts one of the highest obesity rates in the world with 36% of the population defined as clinically obese (USA is not far behind). But according to the latest market research on fitness in Kuwait, the country’s notable amount of disposable income is driving the demand for fitness facilities in the country; something that Alsharhan is hopeful will have a larger effect on the overall health of Kuwaitis and people living there.
- “When people see me at events, a lot of them reach out, wanting to take that first step,” Alshahan says.
And while he is passionate about functional fitness in any capacity, he stresses to anyone looking to him for advice the most important thing is finding something that they enjoy and can stick to.
- “So you could ask them, what do you like to do?…As you give them more options, [they can find something] they wanna do,” he says.
The bottom line: Alsharhan finds himself in an extremely advantageous position within the Middle East fitness scene. Shaping the minds and healthy influence of his students, helping clients on their fitness journey as a CrossFit coach, and making fitness events exciting in a live setting. He has embraced his role and is excited to see where the journey leads him next.
- “There are a lot more students participating in events and getting started with fitness,” Omar says. “Especially after Covid, kids realized it was really time to take their health seriously.”
Omar not only exemplifies the impact representation can have on participation in the sport, but also the growing global impact of CrossFit. How the larger fitness events can help facilitate this growth is up to them.
He hopes to take his talents to the CrossFit Games in the future, but until then, he’s embracing the effect he has on his community one event at a time.