CrossFit Games

Perennial Contender Jason Smith Takes Day One of REBEL Renegade Games

May 19, 2023 by
Photo Credit: "Rebel Elite Fitness"
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The first week of Semifinals kicked off on May 18-21 with events in North America and Africa. Veteran competitor Jason Smith used the first day of the REBEL Renegade Games in Johannesburg, South Africa, as an opportunity to put himself in a position for another potential trip to the NOBULL CrossFit Games. 

Event One: Event One was all about endurance. The athletes had 30 minutes to complete 3,000  meters on Echo Bike, a hand-over-hand pull (84 feet), 2000 meters on the Assault AirRunner, a hand-over-hand pull (84 feet), 1,000 meters on the SkiErg, and a hand-over-hand pull (92 feet). 

  • Estian Ferreira was the man in the spotlight early in Event One. The 32-year-old set the time to beat with a time of 26:41.00. This put pressure on the later heats as other athletes tried to chase down his time and lock up the all-important 100 points. 
  • While Ferreira put on a show early, there was another man that took the event. Smith, a three-time NOBULL CrossFit Games competitor, beat Ferreira’s time by nearly one minute. He finished his final hand-over-hand pull at 25:56.00 and locked up his first win of the weekend. 
  • Daniel Griesel crossed the finish line second overall with a time of 26:30.00 as he tried to put himself on the path to his first appearance at the NOBULL CrossFit Games. 

Event Two: While Event One was long and grueling, Event Two consisted of three, three-minute AMRAPs with one minute of rest between each. The athletes had to complete a “buy-in” of five ring complexes (one toe-to-ring, one muscle-up, one ring dip) before they took on 20 single-leg squats and max burpees over box (30 inches) in the remaining time. They also had to complete the entire sequence while wearing a 20-pound ruck.

  • James van Dongen, who finished seventh in Event One, was the man to watch during the first two heats of the event. He kept a steady pace throughout the three AMRAPs, and he went unbroken on his ring complex. 
  • This consistency was the deciding factor as he beat out Robby Heuer in the final round to take Heat 2. He set the number of reps to beat and set the stage for a wild final round. 
  • Smith kept his momentum in the first heat as he went unbroken on his ring complex, and he quickly moved through his burpees over box. It appeared that he was en route to a second win to kick off the weekend. 
  • However, Smith lost ground during the second AMRAP to Ruan Potgieter, who moved to the round of 40 burpees as the clock reached 7:00.00. He went on to pace the field during the third AMRAP, and he walked away with his first win of the weekend.
  • The interesting part about this battle is that Smith was faster on the ring complex. He would get to the pistols first, but he would have to take multiple breaks while Potgieter quickly moved through the 20 reps each time. This became the deciding factor during the final AMRAP.
  • One athlete that capitalized during Event Two is Darren Zurnamer. He only locked up 18 points in Event 1 by finishing 24th overall, but he was the only man within reach of Potgieter during the pistols and burpees over box in Event 2. He locked up a second-place finish and gained some crucial points ahead of the final two days. 

Worth noting: The weekend started quickly for Ferreira. He set the time to beat in Event One before ultimately finishing third after the final heat. However, he pulled out of Event Two during the ring complex. 

  • Ferreira appeared to have an issue with his shoulder. He completed his toe-to-ring, but he slipped through the rings after completing his muscle-up. Ferreira dropped to the floor and immediately grabbed his right shoulder. 

The bottom line: The first day of the REBEL Renegade Games delivered exciting battles between a wide variety of athletes. Smith looked to be the early favorite, but “Pistol Potgieter” made things interesting during the second event with his blistering pace. This battle marked a strong start to the weekend, which only set up a fascinating final two days. 

With two individual events complete, the top athletes competing in South Africa are ready for moving day. They will take on two events, one of which is a two-part affair. 

  • Semifinals Linda will be the first event of the day. This will task the athletes with completing a descending number of reps (10-1) of deadlifts (295 pounds), dumbbell bench presses (90 pounds), and squat cleans (145 pounds). They have to complete all of the reps in 17 minutes. 
  • Event 4-5 is a quick, two-parter. The athletes must first complete an 800-meter run before setting a max snatch. They have six minutes to complete these movements. Once the first part is complete, they will rest for two minutes. 

The second part of the event consists of eight snatches (185 pounds) and an 800-meter run. Once again, they will have six minutes to complete all of the movements.

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