Karin Frey Wins Dubai; Andrea Solberg, Claudia Gluck Join her on the Podium

December 10, 2023 by
Photo Credit: @dxbfitnesschamp
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Slovakia’s Karin Frey led the Dubai Fitness Championship in the UAE from start to finish this weekend, winning the competition at the Duty Free Tennis Stadium by 69 points over Norway’s Andrea Solberg. 

France’s Claudia Gluck, a three-time Semifinals athlete looking to break through in 2024, finished third, while Belgium’s Manon Angonese and Italy’s Elisa Fuliano rounded out the top five.

The Details

Event 6: Sunday started with a long chipper with a 22-minute time cap featuring an 800-meter run to start and end the chipper. 

  • The leaders at the time, Frey and Gluck, used this as an opportunity to extend their lead on the field, logging top-five finishes (third and fifth respectively). 
  • Solberg, fifth going in, scooped up a second-place finish, helping her case for the podium. But it was Turkey’s Seher Kaya who snagged the event win with a time of 19:18.

Event 7: The long chipper to start the day was followed by a short five-minute event—21-15-9 of power cleans (110 pounds) with farmer walks with a jerry can in between—and for the second time of the weekend not a single woman in the field was able to complete the reps before the time cap. Five women, however, did log 55 reps, and all five of them picked up a first-place finish (Frey, Solberg, Angonese, Devyn Kim and Emily Rolfe).

  • These performances were especially important for Angonese and Rolfe. Angonese started the day in seventh overall, 30 points out of a podium position, but after placing seventh in Event 6 and an event win in Event 7, Angonese found herself in fourth, 31 points behind Solberg in third.
  • Meanwhile, Rolfe, who finished on the podium last year and was expected to contend again this weekend, started the day in 16th overall and was at risk of getting cut. But her sixth-place finish on Event 6 helped her jump into 13th, and her event win on Event 7 helped her climb to ninth and stay just above the cutline as the field was reduced to just 10 athletes for the final event of the competition.

Event 8: The last event of the competition, The Final, was a technical, shoulder-intensive one—starting and ending with an unbroken handstand walk course that included traversing around cones and two freestanding handstand push-ups—with an eight-minute time cap.

Handstand walk course
10/10 single arm dumbbell shoulder-to-overhead (70 pounds)
15 overhead squats (40 kg/88 pounds)
10 ring muscle-ups
15 overhead squats
10/10 shoulder-to-overhead
Handstand walk course

Worth noting: With just 10 athletes competing in the final, there was a new points distribution, making it possible to make up points on a competitor than was possible with the bigger field.

  • It was Solberg who took advantage of the smaller field. She cruised to an event win as pretty much every single other athlete struggled to make it through the second handstand walk course.
  • Fuliano failed the course a handful of times, as did Gluck, while Rolfe failed her first attempt, but made it through the second time, giving Rolfe a second-place finish. Mia Hesketh crossed the line third. 
  • Fuliano and Gluck did both eventually finish the event, but Frey and the other four athletes in the final did not. 

When the numbers were crunched, Frey, who had a 93-point lead going in, took the top spot, while thanks to her event win, Solberg did enough to overtake Gluck for second place.

The big picture: Dubai was ultimately a showdown between, not necessarily the top European athletes in the world, but of strong European athletes looking to qualify for the first time, or return to the Games, this summer.

And after eight events in Dubai, the five athletes who solidified themselves as contenders to watch in Europe in 2024 are Frey, Solberg, Gluck, Angonese and Fuliano.

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