June 1, 2014
Africa Team Report: Day 3
By Irene van Rhyn and Imtiaz Desai

CrossFit PBM will represent Africa at the CrossFit Games.

Only four points separated Double Platinum from CrossFit PBM with the final events of the weekend remaining--with CrossFit PBM in the lead.

For Double Platinum, the math was simple: they had to win both of today’s events while PBM placed lower than third in order to qualify for the CrossFit Games.

Now that the more technical tasks were out of the way, today’s events demanded that the teams blast through the work as quickly as possible.

And on Event 7, CrossFit PBM did just that, and signaled a changing of the guard in Africa.

Team Event 7

In Event 7, male and female teammates were paired up for the first time this weekend to move through three stations: a 500-m row and 125 double-under station, followed by a 50 deadlift (275 lb. / 185 lb.) and hold station, and finally a 50 toe-to-bar and hang station.

Both teammates had to do the prescribed work at the first station, and at the next two stations they had to either hold the barbell or hang from the rig in order for their partner to be able to work through the prescribed deadlifts and toes-to-bar.

The row and double-under combo was like a warm-up. The real work got started once they reached the 50 deadlifts. The weight was especially heavy for many teams, and many were also slowed by poor communication. While one partner wanted to deadlift, the other partner often wasn’t holding onto the barbell at the hang as required. And later, on the toes-to-bar, many pairs failed to trade off in five-rep intervals.

Only three teams finished the event within the 20-minute time cap: CrossFit PBM, Double Platinum, and CCF Mighty Ducks.

Cape CrossFit’s Mighty Ducks were excited about their first top three finish of the weekend (18:51).  

“We practiced this workout a couple of times in training and we knew exactly how long each section should take us and the guys executed it perfectly. We were 20 seconds faster than in training,” said team captain and coach Christian Oman. “Communication was all-important, so in each pair we had a leader who would set the pace. It worked out really well; we’re really happy.”

The fans watched the final heat in rapt attention as the two teams in contention for the region’s one Games-qualifying spot went head to head.

CrossFit PBM’s first pair--Gerhard van der Merwe and Holly Myers--were the first through the row and double-under station, but Double Platinum’s pair was close behind.

By the time the third pairs were passing through the stations, Double Platinum was still within striking distance. Double Platinum’s final pair, Leon Manders and Mary Jamieson, made up ground on the deadlifts, but PBM’s final pairing of Wilna Appel and Frederik Engelbrecht maintained their steady pace.

It all came down to the toe-to-bar where Appel and Engelbrecht edged PBM back in front of Double Platinum to take first place in a time of 17:33. Double Platinum reached the finish mat six seconds later (17:39).

After the event, Appel said that CrossFit PBM was determined to stick to their game plan on the final day of competition.

“Yesterday we tried to chase people and that didn’t really work out for us. So today we said we will compete as we trained, even if they are in front of us we will stick to our plan,” she said. “Frederik (Engelbrecht) and I said we were going to go slower on the deadlifts, because our toes-to-bar are quite strong, and that’s exactly what we did and it worked out well.”

PBM went in to the final event of the competition knowing that a top six finish on Event 8 is all that was needed to solidify their position as the winning team.

Event 7 Results
1. CrossFit PBM (17:33)
2. Double Platinum (17:39)
3. Cape CrossFit Mighty Ducks (18:51)

Team Event 8

Event 8 appeared simple enough. The teams had to send each teammate through 49 pull-ups and 7 overhead squats (185 lb. / 115 lb.) before they could stop the clock.

With a 16-minute time cap, the teams had less than two minutes and 40 seconds per competitor. No team was able to keep to such an aggressive pace. While the pull-ups were straightforward for most of the teammates, the overhead squats were not.

The overhead squat is an exquisite test of midline control, stability, and balance, and can quickly expose anyone who’s still developing a rock-solid squat without weight overhead.

Even in the final heat, many athletes were no-repped on the overhead squats for not achieving full depth.

Double Platinum and CrossFit PBM traded the lead several times before the clock stopped.  At 16 minutes, CrossFit PBM’s final teammate was just starting the pull-ups while Double Platinum’s final teammate was almost to the overhead squats.

With a 20-second penalty to Double Platinum and a 47-second penalty to PBM, Double Platinum won the event--their third event win of the weekend. But PBM’s second place finish on the event locked in their overall lead.

CrossFit PBM had successfully taken gold from (double) platinum.

“It’s just awesome to be able to go (to the CrossFit Games). I don’t know what to feel or what to expect but it is just awesome. This is our third year in this team, trying to go, so it is just a dream come true!” Frederik Engelbrecht of CrossFit PBM said.

Event 8 Results
1. Double Platinum (16:20)
2. CrossFit PBM (16:47)
3. Platinum (18:56)

Overall Standings
1. CrossFit PBM (11)
2. Double Platinum (15)
3. Team RTF CrossFit (40)
4. Team CrossFit Tokai (45)
5. CCF Mighty Ducks (53)
6. Platinum (65)
7. Kings of Kyma (73)
8. CrossFit Durbs (94)
9. CrossFit PBM Two (95)
10. Real World Fitness 1 (100)