Karin Frey, Bronislav Olenkovic lead Dubai Fitness Championships after Day 1

Photo credit: @bronislawolenkowicz

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The Dubai Fitness Championships in the United Arab Emirates kicked off on Friday with two fast off-site events: the 7-minute time limit steeplechase and the Olympic total.

Women: In a field stacked mostly with European CrossFit Games veterans, Karin Frey of Slovakia, a four-time veteran of the Games and last year’s Dubai women’s champion, came out on top, closing out the day with fifth and first place in the first two events.

  • Mia Hesketh, a three-time CrossFit Games team competitor from Sweden, is in second place, while Italy’s two-time Games veteran Elisa Fuliano is in third place after Day 1 of the three-day event.
  • Fourth and fifth place immediately following Friday’s two events belong to two women with no individual experience in the games: French Claudia Gluck and Norwegian Veslemoy Kolstad. Gluck has been knocking on the door to qualify for the Games for three years now, but hasn’t been able to break through while Kolstad, 25, competes on the CrossFit Oslo Black team, which placed 14th at the Games last summer.

On the men’s side: Poland’s Bronisław Olenkowicz made a statement on Friday against heavy favorites Roman Hrennikov and Ricky Garrard, finishing sixth in the hurdles before winning the deadlift and deadlift, placing a total of 300kg (660lb).

  • Hrennikov is currently eight points behind Olenkovic in second place, while four-time Games veteran Chandler Smith is four points back in third.
  • Two other Europeans— Lazar Dzukic of Serbia and 2023 Games rookie Fabian Beneito Seles of Spain, both expected to challenge for the podium — round out the current top five.

It is worth noting: Olenkowicz may be a bit of an unknown, but the 34-year-old made big strides last season when he qualified for the Games and placed 26th overall. He also competed at the 2019 Games, where he finished 42nd.

Where are the other contenders for the podium?

Ricky Garrard: After pulling out of the 2023 season due to a shoulder injury, Garrard is planning a monster offseason that includes competing at the Rogue Invitational in October, the Down Under Championship in Australia last weekend, this weekend in Dubai and at Wodapalooza in Miami in January. After the first two events in Dubai, Garrard is 16th overall and has a bit of a hole to climb out of for Saturday.

Moritz Fiebig: Germany’s Moritz Fiebig, fourth last year in Dubai, is certainly targeting the podium this year, but after Day 1 he is 12th overall. The 2022 and 2023 Games competitor had a strong showing on the Olympic team (third place) but finished 26th on the steeplechase.

Emma Toll: After finishing 11th at the 2023 Games – the highest ranking of any woman in the field in Dubai this weekend – Sweden’s Emma Toll should be considered a strong favorite for the podium. But after two races she is back in 10th place overall and 51 points off third place.

Emily Rolfe: Canada’s Emily Rolfe was third overall in Dubai last year but had a tough Day 1 on Friday, placing 16th in the steeplechase and 21st in the Olympic pool. That being said, Rolf isn’t known for her strength, but she excels in both gymnastics and endurance events, so it’s likely that she’ll start to climb from 20th overall as the competition rolls around. develops.

Jacqueline Dahlstrom: Finally, Norway’s three-time Games athlete Jacqueline Dahlström finished fourth and 17th in the first two races and sits ninth overall after Day 1, 40 points off the podium.

The big picture: The weekend is young in Dubai as the athletes move to the Duty Free Tennis Stadium for the remainder of the competition. And as they say, one day doesn’t mean much.

That being said, one day could go a long way in boosting the confidence of athletes looking to break through, such as current men’s leader Olenkowicz, as well as athletes such as Hesketh, Gluck and Kollstad. On the other hand, we can also expect contenders who have had slow starts – such as Garard, Rolfe and Tall – to feel a serious fire under their asses heading into Event 3 on Saturday.

Bottom line: it’s still anyone’s game in Dubai.

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