How One Woman is Using CrossFit to Break Barriers in the Middle East
It’s a cold night in Boston. A line has formed outside of Reebok CrossFit One for the live Open announcement of WOD 20.5. It’s been raining all day, and even though we’re waiting underneath an awning, the crowd is steadily getting soaked. And that could have put a real damper on the evening, but not for Noor Dajani. She’s got a big smile on her face. Her black hijab is tucked into her jacket, and underneath a Reebok logo peeks through an open zipper. She’s telling me about her experience running the New York City Marathon the previous weekend. She trained for just two months before the race, but was still able to complete it with a great time (and in great spirits). I think about Noor trying to balance CrossFit, coaching, starting a business, raising two kids, and training for a marathon half a world away from her home.
I smile back at her in amazement.
Noor isn’t your typical athlete and trainer. Born and raised in Jordan, Noor is the only female CrossFit Level 3 trainer in the region. But growing up, hailing from that area of the Middle East meant that certain expectations and limitations were placed on Noor and other women and girls regarding how to dress, move, and behave when men were present. For Noor, those situations intersected directly with her favorite pastime: sports. “I was super passionate about all kinds of sports and movement but… in my case I had to stop participating in sport at a very young age around 10 years old,” she said.
Her family made sure to provide Noor and her 7 sisters enough space to play and practice sport within their home, but it wasn’t enough for her. She wanted a chance to take on sports professionally. But the difficulties of not being able to follow-through with dedicating her time to training eventually caused her to stop. It wouldn’t be until she was 25 years old that she found sports again, and not until she moved away that she could explore her opportunities in a new light.
In two days the Emerald Isle plays host to the first stop of the Sanctionals world tour, as the CrossFit Filthy 150 kicks off with three days of competition at the Punchestown Racecourse outside of Dublin, Ireland. The engine is still warm from the Open which ended a little more than a week ago. Some of the biggest names in the sport will look to capitalize on a lengthier season by potentially earning a nice payday along with booking their ticket to the 2020 CrossFit Games before December.
The big picture: Besides the obvious play date in Madison next year, this weekend presents a unique opportunity to go head to head with top-level competition and sharpen the axe accordingly for the remainder of the season.
The roster is pretty stacked. Twelve men, and eight women in the field have previously qualified as individuals for the CrossFit Games, including three past podium finishers, and a former champion in Sam Briggs. There’s also the 2019 Masters Women 40-44 champion Joey Kimdon in the field as well. Not only will this weekend be a good measuring stick against quality competition, there’s also plenty of time to take the information back to the drawing board for the rest of the season.
For athletes in line to qualify through the Open this year, the heat of live competition this early brings opportunities to take chances with regards to workout strategy and test new competition approaches with things like nutrition.
For teams this is the real start of their season as Sanctionals are the only path to the Games. For any team in the field, having a Games spot in hand before Christmas, frees up the rest of the season to build cohesiveness as unit and use other events as a testing ground. Plus there’s a new superteam debuting this weekend.
WATCH: Kara Saunders Open Summary Kara Saunders sat down on the beach with her family to share her thoughts on her Open placement, how she felt returning to the compteition floor at Torian Pro, and what’s next for her and her family. SUPERMOM SAUNDERS.
ATTACK: Your Weaknesses Did the Open expose your weaknesses? Invictus programming, lead by one of the most consistently successful CrossFit coaches, C.J. Martin, is here to help you turn those weaknesses into strengths. Don’t let 21.1 sneak up on you before you tackle them. BE AN INVICTUS ATHLETE.
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EAT: Chai-Spiced Muffins with Salted Honey Glaze Fluffy butternut squash muffins infused with homemade chai spices, then topped with a simple salted honey glaze that truly takes these to the next level. These fall inspired freezer-friendly muffins have hints of caramel flavor thanks to a touch of brown butter. MUFFINS AND COFFEE.
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THE EOD 136 WOD — Angel Oak CrossFit in Charleston, SC will be hosting the EOD 136 WOD this Saturday. The EOD 136 Memorial Workout is in honor of the 136 EOD technicians who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11.
FIRST IN FITNESS — Green Mountain CrossFit in Berlin, VT has purchasedFirst in Fitness and plan to open it as Green Mountain Community Fitness, which will also include CrossFit, next month.
BREAKING GROUND — CrossFit Excursion in Cambria County, PA broke ground on their new location this week. Construction is planned to be completed by the spring of 2020.
CHALK UP IN 2 MINUTES(a highlight reel around social media of CrossFit pros and average joes)
…and at CrossFit Avalanche the WOD is chase a bear for time, apparently.
Rogue Invitational — Zoe Pond-McPhersonannounced she has accepted a spot to the Rogue Invitational as a member of Team OC3 Black. Joe Piersanti confirmed to be on the team, too.
Michele Fumagali’s Take on Public Weighing — Games athlete and Nutritionist Michele Fumagali posted on her Instagram in response to a segment on The Today Show in which Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager weighed themselves on live television.
— “Thank you for being the perfect example of how not to look at your weight and body. You weighed yourself on national television for what purpose? To tell all women and young girls to be afraid of the scale and their weight?
— “Todayshow have you no idea what message you are spreading with this? This was three steps backwards in my eyes.”