"My dream of going to the Games is a distant memory, and I now train for the glory of qualifying for Regionals as long as my mind and body are willing to take the punishment."
While he led in the first event at the 2012 Australia Regional, Chris Saliba says that was the end of his five minutes of fame.
“I am a 5-foot-6 … 33-year-old father of two who has competed at Regionals for the last three years. My dream of going to the Games is a distant memory, and I now train for the glory of qualifying for Regionals as long as my mind and body are willing to take the punishment,” Saliba says.
Saliba learned about CrossFit in 2007 while working as an Australian Air Force fitness instructor. He has advice for those competing in the Open: work on your weaknesses, try to be as well rounded as possible and be strategic.
His goal this year is simple.
“My goal is to do better … than what I have done in the past.”
But with CrossFit continuing to grow, and more than 100,000 athletes expected to take part in this year’s Open (68,000 in 2012), Saliba admits, making the top 48 is going to be tough in 2013.
“If you see the same sort of growth, or even half of that growth from last year to this year, there’s going to be a whole lot more people competing for less spots,” he says.
Saliba feels his size is his weakness.
“I was the lightest guy at Regionals … It’s an achievement in itself to make it there probably as the smallest competitor,” he says.
“I basically eat as much as I can all day, every day. I think I can afford to put on quite a bit of weight before I would feel my strength starting to slide.”
Saliba likens his stats to Spealler's a year or two ago, but doesn't see any similarity with Josh Bridges who is 10-15kg heavier.
"A huge difference," he says.
Saliba, who owns Coastal CrossFit Queensland in Australia, has put more passion into his training in 2013, with more structure, less focus on conditioning and more rest days.
“At one point, I was training six days a week and double days — so morning and afternoon. It just burned me up mentally,” he says.
“I’ve got two young kids and a wife. I’d get to the point when I’d wake up on a Sunday morning and think, ‘I’ve got to go and train.’ It starts to become more like a job than a passion, so I’ve structured something that I thought was sensible.”
This year, Saliba hopes to etch his name in the record books as one of the athletes who have competed at four straight Australia Regionals.