The latest Sanctional on the schedule took the eyes of the fitness community to Italy for the 2019 CrossFit Italian Showdown. There are fewer opportunities to qualify for the CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, which means every rep, step, and motion in competition could be the difference between victory and defeat. More than 1,000 athletes showed up at this event, and thanks to an elimination style format, the field diminished until the elite of the elite were left standing with the final five competing in the last event.
When all was said and done, one man, woman, and team came out on top and tickets to the Games were punched. Here’s a look back at those results.
Winner – Roman Khrennikov
The 24-year-old Russian Federation athlete was not a name that was expected to be on the podium, so this is a big upset. Khrennikov is a very capable athlete, as shown by finishing in the top 150 of the Open in 2018, but he has never competed in the Games. He took the top spot by the end of the second day and never looked back. Considering the athletes that were in this field—Scott Panchik and Noah Ohlsen, just to name a couple—it is a big statement for Khrennikov to take this win this close to the Games. Khrennikov already had a spot in the Games thanks to a fifth-place finish at the Dubai CrossFit Championship, where all four athletes who finished ahead of him qualified through the Open.
2nd – Scott Panchik
Panchik was in the top 10 after day one but improved greatly on day two. He mentioned on his Instagram that intensity and consistency was the name of the game for the weekend. He displayed both from start to finish, but unfortunately for him, Khrennikov never slipped up and maintained his lead. Panchik didn’t earn his eighth trip to the Games here, but that is already in the bag since he finished 11th in the Open.
3rd – Noah Ohlsen
Thanks to the previous two already being qualified, the qualification for this event will go to the third-place finisher Ohlsen. This spot was made official according to the CrossFit Games Instagram page. Going into the weekend Ohlsen was unsure of whether he would get to compete in Madison or not.
He still showed up to Italy wanting to win a Sanctional and was actually ahead at the end of the first day. Unfortunately the top two caught him on day two and he had to settle for another third-place spot on the podium at the end.
Winner – Erin Vandendriessche
Vandendriessche didn’t have a top spot in the Open and hadn’t won a previous Sanctional, so this was her best chance to earn a ticket to the Games and she seized upon it. She made her move on day two and was able to hold onto her spot until the end. As with Khrennikov, this will be her debut at the Games.
2nd – Feeroozeh Saghafi
Saghafi already has a spot at the Games secured as long as her position in the Open stands. At this point it looks like it will, but it would still be great to win a Sanctional and carry momentum into the summer. If nothing else, her weekend here can help her gauge where she is in her training and what she can improve upon before moving on to Madison.
3rd – Stephanie Chung
Unlike Saghafi, Chung didn’t have a spot reserved for her yet. She was leading here after day one and was in contention throughout the weekend, but wasn’t able to take back the lead when Vandendriessche took over. Chung was 35th last year at the Games, so we know she’s capable of earning a spot. No word on what her competitive plans are as of yet.
The Next Sanctionals
The month of May is heavy with Sanctional events taking place in Brazil, the Netherlands, Australia, Iceland, and Columbus, Ohio (the Rogue Invitational). Stay tuned to FloElite as we keep you updated on the latest news and events as we get closer to the 2019 CrossFit Games.