Misstep Costs Brent Fikowski Title as Fabian Beneito and Karin Frey Lunge to Victory at Dubai Fitness Championship

December 4, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Preslie Hirsch
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The final day of competition in the UAE at the Dubai Fitness Championship started with a jam-packed men’s leaderboard and some big unanswered questions on the women’s side, namely whether Karin Frey would be able to hold off 2019 CrossFit Games medalist Jamie Simmonds to take the title.

The details: The day kicked off with an interval-style event of shuttle runs, burpee box clears and dumbbell thrusters and was followed by a triplet of double-unders with a heavy rope, a sandbag carry and 50 chest-to-bar pull-ups.

  • Two noteworthy athletes in the first two events were Emily Rolfe and Fabian Beneito. Rolfe used the first two workouts of the day to jump from fifth into third thanks to fifth and second place finishes on Events 5 and 6. Meanwhile, Beneito, a two-time Semifinals and Last Chance Qualifier competitor, catapulted from seventh to second thanks to back-to-back wins to start the day.

The second to last event of the day—”Barbell Furious—was indeed a fast and furious one: 10 cleans, 10 front squats and 10 shoulder to overhead with a three-minute time cap.

On the women’s side, it was no surprise to see Frey, a strength athlete who won the max hang clean event, dominate. She finished the 30 repetitions at 70 kg (154 pounds) in 1:22, well ahead of the next competitor.

  • Spanish competitor Oihana Moya Oliver, who entered the event in fourth and just five points behind Rolfe in third, did herself no favors on the event. The strong, but small athlete, struggled on the shoulder-to-overhead, failing a number of reps, eventually finishing 10th overall. And while Rolfe also had a hard time, she managed to stay just ahead of Moya Oliver in ninth, keeping her in the top three, 25 points behind Simmonds (11th), with one event to go.
  • Heading into the final workout, there were still six athletes who had a shot at the podium—Frey, Simmonds, Rolfe, Moya Oliver, as well as Hanna Karlsson and Garnes in fifth and sixth respectively, and who were both only 10 points out of third.

On the men’s side, it was, once again, Beneito who made a statement, cruising through his 30 reps and winning the second heat, however, he was unable to best Reggie Fasa’s time from Heat 1. But he did enough to find himself with the same number of points as the previous leader Fikowski with one event to go. 

  • Meanwhile, thanks to a fourth place finish, Fiebig managed to pull himself back into third, and although he had been quiet much of the weekend, Games veteran Jonne Koski did enough on Event 7–third—to jump from sixth to fourth overall, 20 points out of third. 

The task in the final event was a 90-foot handstand walk, 20 ring muscle-ups, 30 devils press and a 90 foot dumbbell overhead walking lunge, and the drama for the final podium spots didn’t disappoint.

On the women’s side, Frey was more or less a mathematical lock for the title, but five other women were fighting for the other two podium spots.

  • It was Garnes, in sixth at the time, who attacked the event like she was fighting for her life, finishing the 30 devils presses first and effortlessly lunging her way to the finish line, locking up an event win.
  • Rolfe, who was in third going in, also did what she needed to do and stayed close to Garnes, but dropped her dumbbells a few steps from the end, giving Frey just enough time to pass her at the line.
  • And while it looked like Simmonds—second going in—had a big enough buffer on her challengers, she struggled on the walking lunges, so it would become a numbers game to see if enough people from Heat 1 had faster times than Simmonds to knock her out of the top three for the first time all weekend.
  • They did. Simmonds wound up 10th overall, dropping her to fourth, while Garnes propelled herself to second, and Rolfe did just enough to hang on to the final podium spot.

The men’s race was equally as exciting, with Fikoswki and Beneito tied in points, so it would come down to who bested who.

  • It was a tight race the entire way, with all 10 men making their way through their devils presses at the same time, but it was Fiebig who finished them first and had no trouble with the double dumbbell overhead walking lunge. He wrapped up an event win and secured his podium finish.
  • But everyone’s eyes were on Fikowski and Beneito. Fikowski finished his devils press first and took a few deep breaths before starting his lunges and with Beneito close on his heels.
  • Both athletes dropped their dumbbells and exchanged the lead a number of times throughout the 90-foot lunge, however, it looked as though Fikoswki had the edge. But just as Fikowski was crossing the finish line, his elbow buckled and he was given a no rep on his final lunge, allowing Beneito to sneak by him on the final step.

The excitement didn’t end there. After the numbers were crunched, Beneito ended with the same number of points as Fiebig—Beneito won the tiebreaker and took the title—and Fikowski’s misstep and seventh place finish caused him to drop to third.

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