LIVE FROM THE FINALS: Day 1

PHOTOS: Kicos Maria & Christopher Wadsworth
WRITTEN BY: Andrew Telfer & Melanie Lim

The heat was a force to be reckoned with at the inaugural Asia Championships. 87 athletes from 4 different division: Men’s and Women’s Masters, and Men’s and Women’s Rx divisions represented 16 different countries as they packed into Training Ground, Bangkok for Event 1 of the grand final. 

Event organizers, Mike Mogard and Melanie Lim decided to initiate the competition with a brutal reimagining of the classic workout, Fight Gone Bad.  The newer workouts, dubbed FGB 508 for men and FGB 421 for women, paid homage to reigning competitive fitness leaders, Rich Froning and Camile Leblanc-Bazinet.  Referencing their respective scores on the classic Fight Gone Bad workout, athletes were asked to complete a grueling 26-minute capped workout consisting of 508/421 combined reps of the following movements: Wallball Shots, Sumo deadlift high pulls, box jump overs, push press and a calorie row. The workout was structured as three rounds for time with a mandatory 60-second rest upon the completion of the calorie row.

This was a confident move on the part of Mogard and Lim as it directly asked spectators to compare Asia’s best athletes against the score of international champions.  As each heat last about 30 minutes, the event was an excellent test of athlete conditioning, strategy and ability to endure pain.

MASTERS' MEN

The first 2 heats consisted of the Men’s masters division.  Asia is lucky to host a competitive stable of masters male and female athletes.  The athletes came out strong in both heats.  Most athletes breezed through the wall ball shots and slogged through the high pulls. Some athletes experienced difficulties with the ballistic box jump overs.  Of the initial pool of 12 masters men, 3 were unable to finish the event due to injuries or exhaustion.

Rising to the top of the leaderboard after day one were Hong Kong's elite male athletes, Chris Folino and Rick Johannessen, whose ability grit their teeth through the heat and fatigue was evident. Heat 2 featured an exciting match between Merwin Torres and Mark McClain, with the Philippines representative superseding the latter for a solid second place finish in Event 1. 

EVENT 1 RESULTS

  1. Chris Folino, CrossFit CSTL (HKG) 
  2. Merwin Torress, FnB Box (PH)
  3. Kyungtaek Kang, CrossFit HIM (KR)

MASTERS' WOMEN

The first ever Asia Championships drew in a small but strong pool of Masters' women from the region. Seed number one, Lisa Ansley held strong to first place with a tight competition behind her for 2nd. Hot on her tail were Belinda Halcrow from CrossFit CSTL and Yunjin Chung from CrossFit RAON, with equally impressive performances in the sweltering heat. No masters' women completed Fight Gone 421 within the time cap.

EVENT 1 RESULTS:

  1. Lisa Ansley, Fight Tonight CrossFit (KR)
  2. Belinda Halcrow, CrossFit CSTL (HKG)
  3. Yunjin Chung, CrossFit RAON (KR)

INDIVIDUAL WOMEN

The next 5 women’s heats contained some fantastic neck and neck finishes. Kristen Lim came out to an early lead in the 1st heat and dominated the barbell movements in the workout. Heat 2 was incredibly close with multiple athletes jockeying for to win it. 

Heat 3 stood out as a crowd favorite with impressive performances from all the athletes. Minji Kim, Christen McCool and Choi Mi-Jung pushed each other to the end - eventually rising above the pack, McCool's heat win at 23:51 was good enough to upseed her to second place overall after the final heat.

The final heats featured the stars from the recently concluded Pacific Regional. Crowd favorite, Vanessa Fung started strong and kept a lead but all eyes were on Sophie Reid and Loriedana Ballesteros as they kept within a few reps of each other throughout the rounds. The concluding heat of the day was a battle between Japan's Yuko Sakuyama and Hong Kong-based, Victoria Campos.  The two separated themselves from the pack early, and kept the distance to close out top two finishes in their heat. Campos pulled off her first win with an impressive time of 23:14 on Fight Gone 421, leading the 7 women who completed the workout within the time cap. 

EVENT 1 RESULTS:

  1. Victoria Fiamma, CrossFit 852 (HKG)
  2. Christen McCool, CrossFit CSTL (HKG)
  3. Yuko Sakuyama, Reebok CrossFit Daikanyama (JPN)

 

INDIVIDUAL MEN

The men’s heats were equally exciting with a strong contingent from Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand.  Heat 1 was an easy 1st for John Cheah of Singapore, while compatriots Sam Bengzon and Job Wi battled for 2nd place.

Heat 2 contained some crowd favorites not the least of whom is Dylan Goddard.  Goddard came out strong, perhaps too strong considering the heat and the duration of the event.  Though he had an early lead, Goddard faltered on the rower. Daryl Cheng and Frank O’Neal took advantage of the opportunity and battled it out.  O’Neal, a relative newcomer to this level of competition, impressed many fans with his strong finish. Dan King-Turner also made an impression with his steady strategy of slowly gaining on the leaders in the heat.

Heat 3 was a display of solid strategy and patience on the part of Ed Haynes.  Haynes, a competitive veteran and highly respected coach, started the workout with a cool, slow pace. Over the course of the heat, he steadily gained on his competition.  After a few movements he secured an unwavering lead over his peers. Though Haynes dominated the heat, there was a ferocious battle for 2nd between the Korean athletes: Sungwook Yoo, Kyungsun Kang and Sunjae Han.

Heat 4 was another crowd pleaser.  Alleem Humber Jr flew through his wallballs and highpulls with what would have been a record pace.  Veteran athletes and local favorite, Ron Harvey came out cool and collected.  Borrowing a page from Ed Hayne’s strategy, Harvey’s stead pace soon cinched him the lead.  After Alleem’s pace dropped off, the second place spot was fought over the remaining athletes in the heat.

Heat 5 contained some very strong competitors. Ant Haynes started strong and maintained an authoritative lead for most of the heat.  Antonio Barrias showed a lot of heart and earned a 2nd place standing in the heat.  Showing true team spirit, he managed to cheer Marc Gupiland into a 3rd place finish in the heat.

EVENT 1 RESULTS:

  1. Ant Haynes, CrossFit CSTL(HKG)
  2. Ronald Harvey, East West CrossFit (THA)
  3. Antonio Barrias, CrossFit Cotai (MAC)
Melanie LimComment