There were many benefits to revising the qualification process for the 2019 CrossFit Games. One reason was to expand the CrossFit movement around the globe. Another benefit is that those different places that would be holding these events are getting a lot of exposure.
Take Cape Town, South Africa, for example. The Fittest in Cape Town event was around in past years but it has likely never seen the attention that it’s seeing now because of the fact that the winners will be qualified to participate in the 2019 CrossFit Games. Think of all the other ways that this event will be positively impacted. The athletes competing will have more people watching them, more potential sponsors looking to work with them, and the local Cape Town economy will benefit as well.
What You Need To Know
The Fittest in Cape Town event will take place from Jan. 29-Feb. 2, 2019. As with the other events that are involved in this revamped process, the winning male, female, and team will earn an automatic qualification to compete at the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin. As if that wasn’t enough of an incentive, there are also financial prizes on the line. Over R400,000 ($28,900 U.S.) in total prizes will be awarded, including R60,000 ($4,335 U.S.) for first place.
Outside of the online qualifier that took place in November, there were “wild card” invitations awarded to four male and four female athletes. Furthermore, thanks to a partnership with Wodapalooza, the second- and third-place finishers at that event will also be invited to join the folks in Cape Town. Some elite athletes have thrown their hats in the ring hoping to make this venture to South Africa a winning experience. Some established names are in the field as well as those who are looking to start making their own marks in 2019.
Notable Male Athletes
Foulis comes into this event as the 2018 champion, so obviously he wants to repeat and start the New Year in a big way. Fortunately he won’t have to travel far because he resides in the area. The lack of travel and familiarity can serve as a home field advantage for the 32-year-old.
Henze has already started making his mark in his own part of the world, known as the “Fittest Man in Germany.” He was ranked first in his homeland back in 2016. You know the 23-year-old will be giving his max effort to punch his ticket to Madison and compete at the Games for the first time. One focus of this revamped qualifying process is to improve the future of the sport. Henze could very well be a big part of that future.
Sager has quite the record going into this event, having competed at the Games for the last five years, finishing in the top 20 every year and in the top 10 three times. His fifth-place effort in 2016 is his highest finish. He will have a long way to travel from his home in Spokane, WA, to compete but the miles will be worth it if he can improve on his seventh-place finish in 2018.
Notable Female Athletes
As high as the stakes already are, the excitement only gets greater when a two-time Fittest Woman on Earth jumps into the field. Katrin Davidsdottir won the Games in 2015 and 2016. She came in third in 2018 but you know she wants that third title. She received a wild card invitation and accepted the opportunity. This isn’t just a win for the event but also for the other athletes competing since they will be competing alongside a champion.
Merand has never competed at the Games, but she’s the reigning champion, taking the title of “Fittest in Cape Town” in 2018. According to the FiCT Instagram page, she recently underwent a surgery but should be recovered and ready to go come the big weekend.
Valenzuela was starting to climb the ranks back in 2013 when she finished in second. She returned to the Games in 2015 and finished seventh. The next year she didn’t compete as she was pregnant and focusing on her family. She hasn’t been back to the Games since but hopes Cape Town will be the first stop on her journey to the big event. She earned her spot at this event via online qualifier.
For more information and updates on Fittest in Cape Town, go to www.fittestincapetown.com, follow @fittestincapetown on Instagram, and of course keep checking back to FloElite.
Roger Lockridge is from Lewisburg, WV. His work has been featured on numerous platforms and magazines in the fitness industry over the last 10 years. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @rocklockridge.