Breakout Performances at the 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship
The 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship wrapped up this past weekend with dominance on the women’s side and a last-minute upset on the men’s side.
While the 10th anniversary of this offseason event had some big names on the roster, we saw some incredible breakout performances from up-and-coming athletes. Heading into the 2023 season, be sure to lookout for these eight athletes in the European region.
- Oihana Moya Oliver (5th place): Moya was extremely consistent at Dubai, finishing inside the top 10 in seven of the eight events. She displayed incredible capacity on both ends of the fitness spectrum, taking fifth in the Burj Khalifa challenge (endurance), and second in the max hang clean event (strength). Look out for Oihana Moya Oliver to be a major contender for a Games spot in the European region in 2023.
- Manon Angonese (6th place): Angonese only finished outside the top 10 in two of the eight events at the DFC, with her best performances coming on Sunday (fifth, fifth and fourth in the final three workouts). Excelling towards the end of the weekend was a trend we also saw from Angonese at the 2022 Rogue Invitational. This shows that she has no problem recovering from the volume of a long competition, and is definitely a European athlete to watch moving into the 2023 season.
- Claudia Gluck (7th place): Gluck’s win in the “Fast like an Oryx” workout (shuttle runs, burpee clear overs and dumbbell thruster intervals) was an unbelievable showing of her engine and strength endurance. She finished inside the top 10 in six of the eight events, and could be a threat at Semifinals if she’s able to improve her finishes in some of the longer endurance events.
- Hanna Karlsson (8th place): Karlsson won the “Ride or Die” workout (Echo bike and legless rope climb sprints), showcasing a mix of power on the bike and upper body pulling strength/stamina. She finished inside the top 10 in five of the eight workouts, exhibiting broad capacities with a seventh place finish in the Burj Khalifa Challenge (endurance) and fourth place finish in the hang clean workout (strength).
- Fabian Beneito Selles (1st place): The men’s 2022 DFC champion fought until the last second to overtake Brent Fikowski for the top spot. Beneito Selles had three event wins over the weekend and only finished outside the top 10 once (Burj Khalifa Challenge). He started Sunday with back-to-back wins and took second in the “Barbell Furious” workout (heavy cleans, front squats and shoulder-to-overhead), which put him in striking distance heading into the final workout. He came into Dubai as a top-ten Semifinal athlete, but left as champion and one of the up-and-coming athletes to lookout for in 2023.
- Moritz Fiebig (2nd place): Fiebig tied Fabian Beneito Selles with 625 overall points on the weekend, but lost the tiebreak due to having fewer event wins. He won the final workout of the weekend “Walking with the Devil,” leapfrogging Brent Fikowski in the overall standings and nearly winning the entire competition. He finished inside the top five in six of the eight workouts, showing that he is well-rounded, but can also hit home runs when he needs to. Fiebig made his CrossFit Games debut in 2022, finishing 36th in his rookie season. After winning the 2022 German Throwdown and nearly taking home the gold at Dubai, Fiebig is a major threat in the men’s European region heading into 2023.
- Alex Kotoulas (5th place): Kotoulas displayed superhuman endurance at the DFC, winning the “Burj Khalifa Challenge,” where he climbed 160 stories in a weight vest in just over 30 minutes. He went on to prove the balance of his fitness, placing inside the top 10 in all eight workouts. After finishing fourth at the 2022 Madrid Championship and fifth at Dubai, Kotoulas appears to be on track in his pursuit of qualifying for the CrossFit Games.
- Aniol Ekai (6th place): Ekai finished inside the top five in 50% of the workouts, with his best performances being a second place in workouts one and five (Burj Khalifa Challenge and Fast like an Oryx). These top performances show that Ekai can compete with the top of the pack if the workouts line up well for him, but he was held back by placements outside the top 10 in four of the eight workouts. Moving into the 2023 season, Ekai will be a threat, but will need to piece together a consistent weekend if he wants to take the next step in qualifying for the CrossFit Games.
The bottom line: Since the majority of the field at Dubai was from the European region, it serves as a good preview of what’s to come heading into the 2023 season. While we may only see a few of these names at the CrossFit Games, you can be certain they will all be strong contenders at their respective Semifinals this season.