October 8, 2019
National Champions—A Chance to Make History
By Brittney Saline
CrossFit Open National Champions—These athletes are living symbols not only of their nations’ flags but of the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice it takes to represent them.
CrossFit Open National Champions—These athletes are living symbols not only of their nations’ flags but of the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice it takes to represent them.

Two hundred thirty-two.

That’s how many national champions were crowned at the end of the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games Open. When the athletes took the field at the Games in Madison, Wisconsin, in August, they hailed from 114 nations, together representing the growth of the Sport of Fitness from a backyard barbecue to the worldwide test of fitness.

These athletes were living symbols not only of their nations’ flags but of the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice it took to represent them. While CrossFit has become a household name in the United States, Canada, Australia, and much of Western Europe — affording athletes from those countries more opportunities to train and compete at the elite level — the sport remains in its infancy in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Cyprus, Nigeria, and more, where there may be only one or two — or zero — CrossFit affiliates. 

These were athletes who defied cultural norms that frown upon women lifting weights. 

Athletes who blossomed in the Sport of Fitness despite having little or no athletic background.

Athletes who come from war-torn lands lacking basic resources like power, much less state-of-the-art equipment, and professional coaches.

And yet, they’ve joined ranks with the fittest athletes in the world.

Among them was Mishak Murad, Pakistan’s fittest woman in 2019. She described spending her summers lying on the floor in the 100-degree heat, attempting to cool off while the power was out. She’s also setting an example for other Pakistani women who desire to be athletic and strong, fearlessly sharing videos of strict weighted pull-ups and heavy barbell deadlifts. She earned the National Champion of Pakistan crown with three first- and one second-place finish on her country’s Open leaderboard, never finishing outside the top five. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going !! Today I’m making HISTORY in Madison !! #RoadToTheGames2019 Honored to be the first Egyptian Female to Compete at The CrossFit Games, you can watch The Games live ! Link in Bio 🇪🇬 فخورة اني اكون اول مصرية تتأهل لبطولة الكروسفت العالمية ، تقدروا تشوفوا البطولة علي قناة CrossFit Games علي اليوتيوب !! A Huge Thank you list to everyone shared This Dream with me !! 🎥 @omar.z4in @sportshouse.studios Thanks to all sponsors @sigmafitegypt @profitegypt @sulfax @cairogyms #support_aya_fouad #CrossFitGames #CrossFitTycoons #شجع_بنت_بلدك

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Also among their ranks was Aleks Koštomaj, Slovenia’s fittest man in 2017 and 2019. Though he hails from a nation with just a single CrossFit affiliate, he took 47th at the 2019 Games out of a field of 144 men. His finish ranked him above familiar names, such as three-time Games athlete Tim Paulson (107th) and two-time Games athlete Paul Castillo (100th). 

But regardless of rank, the Games gave national champions an opportunity to stand for something greater than themselves. To represent every man, woman, and child back home who watched Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey on the big screen and decided to pick up a barbell for the first time. To prove that, while veterans like Fraser and Toomey may continue to reign—for now—a new field of athletes is preparing to challenge them — a global field.

“What a year. An experience of a lifetime,” wrote Achilleas Pantazis, National Champion of Cyprus, after his Games experience was finished. “[It] was an honor representing Cyprus and #crossfitlimassol at the 2019 CrossFit Games.”

Ksenija Kecman, of Bosnia and Herzegovina, never dreamed she’d be the 43rd fittest woman in the world, and after taking 37th, Simona Quintana flew the Chilean flag high.

And it starts all over again on Oct. 10. With the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games Open comes another opportunity to diversify and evolve the Sport of Fitness through the crowning of new national champions.

Think you’ve got what it takes to represent your country on the worldwide stage? Here’s what you have to do: 

  1. Register for the Open.
  2. Complete and video all five Open workouts as prescribed over the course of the Open. Submit scores to games.crossfit.com.

(Champions will be notified after the Leaderboard is set upon completion of the Open and after citizenship is verified.)

From the high-rises of China to the mountain villages of Switzerland to the safaris of Zimbabwe — the Open is open to you. Every eligible nation will qualify one male and one female champion for the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games. 

Will you be the one to make history for your country?

“Going out there was an opportunity of a lifetime,” wrote Vedharth Thappa, the 2019 National Champion of India.

“Coming from India where CrossFit is still growing and I have always competed and trained within the four walls of my gym and few other people to competing in front of thousands of people. It certainly felt exactly like things I dreamt about many a time. This is just the start to something big.”