IF3 Masters and Youth World Championship Crowns Worldwide Winners
At the opening ceremonies of the International Functional Fitness Championship, president Gretchen Kittleberger welcomed 345 athletes from 24 countries, as they traveled to Richmond, BC, Canada, nea Vancouver, to compete in the IF3 Masters and Youth World Championship.
The championship involved multiple tests, including Endurance, Skill, Bodyweight, Strength, Power and Mixed–the tests varied, depending on the age group and division and after three days of competition, podiums were set.
Remind me: A non-profit, independent international governing body for functional fitness as a competitive sport, the International Functional Fitness Federation, (IF3), strives to provide leadership, structure and resources as it promotes functional fitness and its growth throughout the world. It is IF3’s mission to see functional fitness included in the Olympic Games.
The details: While the IF3 World Championship is held separately, in Oslo, Norway, November 24-26th, the Masters and Youth World Championship was held over three days, last weekend. The athletes competing qualified in different ways, depending on their countries’ stipulations and process.
- The athletes from the United States qualified by their scores from the 2023 CrossFit Age Group Quarterfinals, for example, other countries like Costa Rica had four unique qualifying workouts, mimicking those of the IF3 format, and other countries hosted live events for their qualifying process.
The country with the largest representation at the World Championship was Sweden, followed by the United States, then Mexico, Canada and Germany.
On hosting the event, Kittleberger expressed her desire to create a powerful and lasting memory for the competitors and fans.
- “We want to create an experience that’s important to (the athletes), that’s meaningful and is something that they can be proud of, particularly with the masters and the juniors, I feel like those are underserved populations right now, so we want to highlight them and really support them and help the sport grow in those age groups,” said Kittleberger.
The athletes representing their countries shared their gratitude for the opportunity to do so. The youth athletes look forward to the journeys that lie ahead and they are hopeful that their choice to compete in functional fitness will inspire others to do so as well. When asked what it means to them to compete on such a high level as representations of their countries, they shared the following sentiments:
- “It feels incredible and I hope to do it for the next couple of years,” said 2nd place finisher in the Youth 13-14 division, Gia Griffith, from the United States. “It means that I need to train hard everyday, to represent America, because I know everyone is going to be fighting for that one spot.”
- “It’s a far journey to get to the competition but it’s worth it,” said Melker Lundin, Swedish 3rd place finisher in the Youth 17-18 division. “I took the opportunity to meet and compete with better athletes in my age group. You develop a lot, not only as an athlete but also as a person.”
Lundin went on to express his hope that the sport and recognition for it can grow.
- “The sport of functional fitness has to grow and I’m a part of its future. Hopefully I can contribute and inspire more youth to be a part of something bigger. I’m still a young athlete but I hope to inspire others with my performance,” said Lundin.
The masters athletes expressed that they are grateful to have a space to compete with like-minded athletes, and men and women that while they have been in the sport for many years, the fire of competition still burns bright. Many of them are honored that they are still doing what they love to do, while representing their country amongst so many others.
Joamir Terrero, who competed on the Masters World Team for the United States of America, lives in Texas and was honored to be in Canada, competing, with such high level programming and organization, alongside men and women from so many other countries.
- “I love the United States. It’s my second home. I’m from the Dominican Republic, but the United States has given me a lot. Being here is really an opportunity that any athlete would love to have. Just being here is such a plus,” said Terrero.
The male winners of each Masters age group were the following individuals:
- 30-34: Dennis Bjornstrom SWE
- 35-39: Rodrigo Franco Medina MEX
- 40-44: David Santa Cruz Borgstrand SWE
- 45-49: Tony Kurz USA
- 50-54: Clay Hamilton USA
- 55-59: Marco Wissner DEU
- 60-65: Gary Caudle USA
- 65+: Anders Hahne NOR
The female winners of each Masters age group were the following individuals:
- 30-34: Stine Moen Nilsen NOR
- 35-39: Alina Weidlich DEU
- 40-44: Kajsa Ojala FIN
- 45-49: Jessica Belmar SWE
- 50-54: Sabine Schneider DEU
- 55-59: Katja Rauch DEU
- 60-64: Paula Nilsson SWE
- 65+: Angelika Heuer DEU
The winners of each of the Youth age group were the following individuals:
- Male 13-14: Nicolas Gradilla Ochoa MEX
- Male 15-16: Kalen Gutierrez MEX
- Male 17-18: Hugo Jasson SWE
- Female 13-14: Maria Lucia Navarro MEX
- Female 15-16: Tuva Bjerkeli NOR
- Female 17-18: Samantha Castro Herra CRI
The bottom line: President Kittleberger spent the weekend inspired that so many athletes traveled far and wide, from many corners of the world to compete in this growing event. She shared her plans for the future, as they hope to be involved in Masters World Games, and eventually Youth Olympics and FISU, World University Games.
- Kittleberger: “It means so much to give these athletes an opportunity to come and compete against athletes from all over the world. There’s not any other thing right now in our sport where every country has the opportunity to send athletes if they want to.
- “And the way we do it, every country that has a federation, they can. So, even if you aren’t the top in the world, you still get to represent your country and that’s meaningful. And that’s what we’re celebrating.”