The final event of the day welcomed an overflowing stadium, enthusiastic fans and athletes running high on emotion.
“The crowd participation is absolutely amazing. It is very heartening to see fans getting behind not only local athletes but also international ones,” said Pauline Yong, who traveled all the way from Singapore to watch the action.
An edge-of-your-seat finish to the team event saw CrossFit Asia stealing the throne from CrossFit Misawa and thereby ending their two-way tie from earlier this morning.
Both Michael Mogard and Nicole Tainatongo had nothing to lose as they had already earned their tickets to the Games.
This did not stop Tainatongo from giving it her all to finish second in the final heat of the women’s event and Mogard to give a stellar performance to earn sixth in the last event of the day.
Christen Wagner is going on another trip to California, only this time with some friends.
CrossFit Asia started off with Brent McCall hitting two speedy rope ascents followed by two pairs of power cleans into front squats.
CrossFit Misawa matched this with equally rapid ascents and full squat cleans.
Kelly Sussman, CrossFit Asia’s second female on the relay, pumped out a couple of flawless squat cleans. This was when CrossFit Misawa started to trail behind, as their clean reps came fractionally slower.
Also contributing to CrossFit Asia’s lead was Naoya Arasaki’s rope climbing skills. With only two pulls, he was already tapping the top of the rig.
As the clock ticked closer to the 20-minute time cap, Misawa’s Daniel Hershey tried to close the gap by speeding through with rapid squat cleans.
This briefly evened things out, as he caught CrossFit Asia’s third man on the sprint.
“Whoever wins this will go the Games!” the announcer reminded the teams and spectators.
At this point, both teams’ final female athletes jumped on their ropes almost simultaneously.
Negotiating the climb with ease, Wagner seemed to be in her element.
She flawlessly strung together four squat cleans, ever so gently letting the bar touch the floor, as she rushed to cross the finish line.
“It’s really amazing when you close the Asia Regional by winning the final event. It’s not a chance you get everyday,” Wagner said.
Having put on a brave fight, Hershey conceded to CrossFit Asia’s well-deserved win.
“They built up a lead, so we couldn’t back up. It made us change our strategy a bit, but that’s how we wanted it to end. We want to congratulate CrossFit Asia,” Hershey said. “We had the opportunity to end up in a team event with all the members in it and it’s a good way to go out. Hats off to them! Good luck, CrossFit Asia!”
1. CrossFit Asia (19:34)
2. CrossFit Misawa (20:08)
3. CrossFit Sentinel ONE (21:05)
1. CrossFit Asia (10 points)
Howe promised a closely fought race and, boy, did we get one.
Howe quickly ascended to the top of the rope, only to find Tainatongo waiting for her there.
Both sprinted across the floor to get to their bars, where Tainatongo flawlessly executed four unbroken squat cleans. Howe, on the other hand, had to break her reps into singles.
Tainatongo took a slight lead, jogging her way back to the rope climbs, but Howe caught up soon enough, running at a brisker pace.
This cat and mouse game continued till the very last set of rope climbs where Howe overtook Tainatongo. She quickly ran to her bar and completed her sets while Tainatongo took a knee and inhaled a few deep breaths before taking second place.
Meanwhile, a totally different type of spirit was being showcased between two other females athletes.
In a moment of pure selflessness, Christine Drankiewicz stopped her squat cleans midway, to egg on fellow compatriot Katherine Althoff, who was struggling with the heavy weight.
“This is more than just an event. It is about standing next to each other to support and lend a helping hand when needed,” said Drankiewicz, who eventually ended the weekend in 12th place.
A visibly ecstatic Tainatongo couldn’t contain her excitement and danced with joy across the floor, leaning over to hug the female athletes.
“It’s so real now,” she said. “I’ve worked really hard and sacrificed so much, and now I am going to the Games.”
Second-place finisher Howe vowed to be back next year and seems to be considering going team.
“My husband supported me from the sidelines this year, maybe it’s time for us to form a team. All I know is – we will be back next year,” said the CrossFit Lifespark athlete.
1. Candice Howe (06:00)
2. Nicole Tainatongo (06:46)
3. Rhett Chase (07:44)
1. Nicole Tainatongo (11 points)
Michael Mogard came to the Asia Regional with a strategy in mind. He wanted to remain consistent across all events, and slowly climb up the Leaderboard without injuring or exhausting himself.
He did exactly that.
Mogard managed four top four positions across Days 1 and 2, and only let his guard down on Day 3.
While athletes like Ben Thompson, Cameron Currie and Tanner Shuck jumped all over the Leaderboard, Mogard remained rock solid.
“Consistency is the name of the game,” Mogard said. “I’ve said it before and I will say it again.”
While Marcus Smith and Shuck put in a lot of hard work in the squat cleans, it was Cameron Currie who squeezed in a couple of well-strung reps to edge out his fellow men by about 7 seconds.
Mogard kept up with the leader pack till the second round of squat cleans, but relaxed his pace in Rounds 3 and 4 to finish a solid sixth in the event.
Asia’s number one is now looking forward to the Games.
“It’s an honor to come out first this weekend. I couldn’t be happier,” Mogard said.
1. Cameron Currie (04:59)
2. Marcus Smith (05: 06)
3. Tanner Shuck (05:19)
1. Michael Mogard (36 points)