April 16, 2012
Africa's New Contender: CrossFit PBM
By Riaan Hofmeyr & Imtiaz Desai

"They are still new to CrossFit so they have nothing to lose and are not out to prove anything. They are just going to do their best while enjoying themselves."

CrossFit PBM is one of South Africa’s youngest affiliates. While they may be still establishing themselves as an affiliate with many athletes new to CrossFit, one of the head coaches and several athletes have been doing CrossFit for two to four years. The mix of rookies and veterans has combined to develop a tenacious atmosphere at PBM – an atmosphere that produced a winning performance by the young affiliate in the 2012 Open. 

By finishing the Open in 1st place, PBM broke the stranglehold Cape CrossFit has held in team competitions over recent years. As a team they placed 2nd in the first Open workout, and then stole the show by finishing in 1st on each of the remaining four workouts. The six athletes selected for their Regional team roster all finished the Open in the top 20.

The male contingent of the team is made up of Mark Lubbe, Frederik Engelbrecht and Gerhard van der Merwe. Mark Lubbe (head coach) is no stranger to CrossFit competition having competed in two previous Regionals, and Engelbrecht’s 6th place finish in the Open earned him dark horse status after having only been doing CrossFit three months. Being the younger brother of Wilna Appel, the women’s Open winner, van der Merwe seems to come from an athletic gene pool. He has only been doing CrossFit for six months and already boasts some impressive benchmark results, and a 13th place finish in the Open. 

Anmarie van der Walt, Anneke de Beer and Almien Boshoff comprise the female component of the team. Van der Walt, a mother of three, is yet another rising star of the CrossFit community in Africa who proves once again you have no excuses for not participating in CrossFit. She and the young Boshoff have each only been doing CrossFit for six to 12 months. In contrast, De Beer has approximately two years of CrossFit experience, including participation in last year’s Regional competition. 

The team is coached by Lubbe and Appel. Coupled with the Regionals experience of Lubbe and De Beer they are in capable hands and will have a fair understanding of what to expect at the Regional competition. The abilities of the four rookies should not be underestimated after they all placed higher than their seasoned teammates in the Open. Their combined talents contribute to a well balanced team who believe that they are capable of overcoming the challenges to be thrown at them at the Regional competition.

Given the team is made of so many new athletes, and that they have not competed together, they may be the most unpredictable team at Regionals. “They are still new to CrossFit so they have nothing to lose and are not out to prove anything,” Appel says. “They are just going to do their best while enjoying themselves.”