2023 Dubai Fitness Championship: Women’s Podium Picks and Dark Horses

December 7, 2023 by
Photo Credit: @dxbfitnesschamp
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You’ve seen the men’s rankings — now it’s time to take a look at the women.

As always, the field at this year’s Dubai Fitness Championship is stacked with Games athletes, making a podium, or even a top-five finish, extremely difficult. So, we broke down the competitors and divided the women into two main groups: Podium Picks and Dark Horses.

For quick reference, the athletes listed under the Podium Picks section are our choices of athletes who will contend for a spot on the podium. Since more than three names are on the list, not all the athletes in this section can land on the podium.

Athletes listed in the Dark Horses section are athletes we expect to perform better than many in the community believe. These athletes could be fighting for a top-five or top-10 finish.

Let’s begin.

Podium Picks

Karin Frey: Frey dominated the competition en route to a victory in Dubai in 2022, taking first with a 120-point lead over second place Matilde Garnes. 

Since she is competing against many of the same women as last year, she has a solid chance to win a second straight championship if she has maintained her level of fitness.

Emily Rolfe: The Canadian lost the tiebreaker for 2nd last year, finishing in third overall.

Dubai is well known for its interesting long-distance endurance events, where Rolfe is always a favorite. Also, with the absence of Matilde Garnes and Jamie Simmonds this year, Rolfe should be able to rack up more points against the field.

Emma Tall: When Tall last competed in Dubai in 2019, she finished sixth overall and won the weekend’s first event. Three of the women in front of her that year are legends of the sport: Sam Briggs, Jamie Simmonds, and Sara Sigmundsdottir. And it just so happens that none of them are competing here this year.

Tall looks to be in the best shape of her career, just in time to make a statement in Dubai. She is coming off of a career-best 11th-place overall finish at the Games, where she had six top-10s. 

Jacqueline Dahlstrøm: In 2021, Dahlstrøm was only 19 points away from finishing third place in Dubai. She won one event, landed in the top five in four others, and didn’t have a single finish outside the top 10.

Two of the women who finished in front of her that year are CrossFit Games champions (Laura Horvath and Sam Briggs), and none of the four who beat her are competing this year.

Dahlstrøm might surprise a lot of people this weekend.

Dark Horse Picks

  • Manon Angonese: Angonese finally broke through at Dubai last year (sixth overall) after multiple years spent struggling to break the top 10. She also just had her rookie year at the Games and is picking up momentum. Since she was only 15 points away from fifth last year, she may just do it this year.
  • Mia Hesketh: Back in 2018, Mia Hesketh (Mia Akerlund at the time) stunned the sport when she won the max snatch event with a 104kg/229lb snatch. That year, she finished in 10th overall, only 17 points away from eighth. And only one of the women who beat her that year is competing in Dubai in 2023. She should have a great chance to not only repeat her top-10 finish but even crack the top five.
  • Elisa Fuliano: This might be a wild card pick for some, but let’s not forget that besides the women listed above, Fuliano had the best Games finish this year out of any other woman competing here. This will be her first year at Dubai, and we’ll see if she can crack the top five as a rookie.

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