For the last two years, David Levey has won by the Africa Regional by a landslide. But this year, nothing was certain until the final event.
After repeatedly missing the final rope climb on Event 5, the two-day overall leader Jason Smith slipped to third overall with 23 points between himself and the new leader, Andre Gadney.
Without a miracle, Smith was out of contention for the one spot to the CrossFit Games, but now second-ranked Quinton Van Rooyen looked to have a chance at the top of the podium. Van Rooyen is just six months into his CrossFit training, but he entered the final day of competition just six points behind the overall leader.
Since Gadney is known to struggle on long time domains, the 50s chipper that started the competition on Sunday did not play to his favor.
In this gruelling event athletes had to get as far as possible in 21 minutes in a down and back chipper of rowing for calories, box jump-overs, 180-lb. deadlifts, wall balls, and ring dips. With 50 reps prescribed at each station, the 450-rep event was more than most men the world over could handle. Only eight men have completed all the work in the past three weekends of regionals.
Some of the best performances were set in the early heats, which rattled the leaderboard.
Johann Werth, who competed in the second heat, got the furthest through the work. He came four deadlifts shy of reaching the box jump overs on the second pass through (21:55).
“My strategy was just to take it easy on the row, and my biggest stress was the ring dips. I knew if I could survive the ring dips I would be okay,” said Werth. “I love longer workouts and chippers, and anything with box jumps and deadlifts.”
In the fourth heat, another athlete from CrossFit Kyalami put in a top performance. Richard Smith was midway through the deadlifts at the time cap, which earned him the heat win and second overall (22:11).
“My strategy was just to go balls to the wall to the end, just to go as hard as I could go,” said Smith. “It felt like I ran out of gas a bit, but the crowd was awesome. I could hear the guys from CrossFit Kyalami screaming so I think that gave me my second breath.”
But in this event, the performance that caught the attention of the fans was that of the current leader, Gadney. Gadney was undone by the ring dips, even though he normally can do the movement quite well.