CrossFit Games

Gilmari Reyneke Tops Leaderboard on Day One in Africa at REBEL Renegade Games Semifinals

May 19, 2023 by
Photo Credit: REBEL Renegade Games(@renegadegames)
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The last two seasons at the African Semifinal have been all about a showdown between two Michelles: Michelle Basnett and Michelle Merand. So with Merand opting to compete on a team this year, Basnett has to be considered the heavy favorite to snag the one Games invite available at the REBEL Renegade Games in Johannesburg, South Africa this weekend.

But if Day One is any indication, the rest of the African women’s field is not going to make it easy for Basnett to return to Madison, WI.

Remind me: In 2021, Basnett, who was born in South Africa, but moved to the United States when she was 4 years old, punched her first ticket to the Games via the Fittest in Cape Town Semifinal, eventually placing 32nd at the Games, while Merand finished third at the Semi. 

  • The following year was redemption time for Merand—the owner of FitBox TygerValley in Cape Town, South Africa—who topped the competition, punching her ticket, while Basnett finished third.

Event 1, 2023: While not a single female athlete in the field finished Event One before the 30-minute time cap, it was South Africa’s Gilmari Reyneke, eighth in Africa in Quarterfinals, who took the event.

For time: 

  • 3,000-m Echo Bike
  • Hand-over-hand pull (84 feet)
  • 2,000-m Assault AirRunner
  • Hand-over-hand pull (84 feet)
  • 1,000-m SkiErg
  • Hand-over-hand pull (92 feet)

Behind her was Alicia Stoop in second and Emma Olley in third, while Basnett placed fifth overall. 

Another obvious contender, Zimbabwe’s Christina Livaditakis, who topped the Quarterfinals leaderboard, finished way back in 23rd.

Event 2: The second event of the day featured ring complexes—one toes-to-bar, one muscle-up, one ring dip—single-leg squats and burpees over a box all with a 10-lb. Ruck.

  • This time it was Basnett who made some moves and finished where we might expect her to finish. She placed third, helping her stay in second place heading into Day Two.
  • But it was Reyneke, once again, who did herself a ton of favors. She placed second overall and heads into the second day of competition the overall leader, 20 points ahead of Basnett.
  • Worth Noting: Livaditakis came back strong after the first event and took the event win in the second event, but her 23rd place finish on the opening event means the Quarterfinals winner sits back in ninth heading into Day Two.

The question out of Africa after Day One: Will the veteran Basnett come through by the end of the weekend, or will a new Games athlete rise from Africa?

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