CrossFit Games

Moving Day Vaults Mariska Smit into Driver’s Seat at African Semifinal, with Michelle Basnett Knocking at the Door

May 20, 2023 by
Photo credit: REBEL Elite Fitness
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With just one 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games invite up for grabs at the REBEL Renegade Games in Johannesburg, South Africa this weekend, there isn’t a whole lot of room for error.

One low finish is exactly why the heavy favorite Michelle Basnett, a 2021 Games athlete, sits in second, 11 points out of the qualification position heading into Day Three. Although she had an event win on Saturday, she also had a 15th place position on Event 5, allowing South Africa’s Mariska Smit, who competed on a team the last two seasons, to take the lead heading into Day Three.

Event Three: Heading into the day, it was South Africa’s Gilmari Reyneke, eighth in Africa in Quarterfinals, who led the pack, but Event 3—Semifinals Linda—caused her some problems. She finished 14th overall, dropping her out of the lead.

  • This opened the door for Basnett and Smit, who placed fourth and fifth respectively, helping keep them near the top of the leaderboard.
  • Worth noting: Another contender going into the weekend was Zimbabwe’s Christina Livaditakis. But a 24th place on Event One has left her struggling to climb back ever since. Her third place finish on Event Three, however, helped her creep back closer to the leaders.

Events 4 and 5: Although the last two tests of the day both included snatches and running, the back-to-back workouts proved to be completely different tests, with different athletes excelling at each. 

  • Basnett took the event win on the first test—800 meter run followed by a max snatch—while Livaditakis helped her cause once again with a third place finish, and Smit put forth another consistent performance, finishing fifth. Reyneke finished back in ninth.
  • But in the second of the two events—8 snatches and an 800-meter run for time—it was Smit who snagged the event win. Reyneke, too, rebounded from the previous event, finishing second. Meanwhile, this time it was Basnett’s turn to struggle. The veteran finished 15th, leaving her out on the outside looking in heading into Day Three. 

The bottom line: With two events remaining, it appears the final day of competition in South Africa will come down to the veteran Basnett and two hungry would-be rookies, Reyneke and Smit. And with all three chasing just one invite, it could come down to one small mistake.

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