May 4, 2012
Regional Report: HSPU Challenge African Competitors
By Imtiaz Desai

Handstand push-ups were a struggle for women. The competition dwindled from 29 women to a mere six.

The much anticipated 2012 Africa Regional began in an idyllic setting at the foothills of Table Mountain on 4 May, with double the number of competitors and than in 2011.

“As the community grows, so the event grows,” Regional Director Jobst Olschewski says. Despite the overall improvement in skills and fitness displayed through the Open, the contest to find the Region’s fittest is proving to be tough. 

The inclusion of “Diane” in the individual competition, and an adapted version of that workout in the team competition, brought athletes up against handstand push-ups – a movement, which proved to be the Achilles heel of even the top performers.


With only 3 seconds separating the top two contenders in the men’s competition, the day started off with a mixture of disappointments and one surprise finish as 29 of the 37 athletes qualified for the next round. David Levey, winner of the Open in the Africa Region, lost valuable time with the demanding handstand push-ups, giving him a 6th place finish. Neil Scholtz (Ballistix CrossFit) put in a steady-paced workout to finish in winning time of 4.51.0. Three seconds behind him, Christian Oman, dominated his heat proving he’s going to be someone to watch as the weekend unfolds.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was Nicholas Bordalo from CrossFit Vaal. Bordalo, a relative unknown finished in 3rd.

  1. Neil Scholtz (4:51.00)
  2. Christian Oman (4:54.00)
  3. Nicholas Bordalo (5:26.00)


Event 1 narrowed the field of 29 individual woman entries to a mere six qualifiers. While most athletes managed to get through the first round of 21 deadlifts, the handstand push-ups were again the deciding factor.

As the final heat of the woman’s Event 1 was under way, all eyes were on crowd favorites Wilna Appel and Rika Diedericks, who finished the 1st and 3rd in the Open, respectively. Appel was the first athlete to finish the deadlifts, setting up a lead she maintained throughout the event. Using her combination of lightweight and strength to her advantage in the handstand push-ups, Appel reached the 9-minute time cap one rep short of completing the workout. The surprise finish in the women’s event was 17-year-old Esteven Strauss. Strauss reached the time cap seven reps short of a finish.

  1. Wilna Appel (09.01.00)
  2. Esteven Strauss (09.07.00)
  3. Rika Deidericks and Janine Enslin (09.27.00)


Four evenly matched teams entered what was expected to be a fiercely contested team competition. Heat 1 saw Johannesburg based teams B4C Fitness and CrossFit Platinum up against each other. 

B4C took an early lead over Platinum who lost valuable time during the deadlifts.  With team coach Julian Reichmann being relegated to the teams’ reserve spot due to injury, Platinum probably underperformed, finishing more than two minutes behind the stronger B4C.

In Heat 2, Cape CrossFit’s Ellie Hagopian and Linda Piper-Roche performed strongly through the handstand push-ups to power their team to a win over Pretoria-based CrossFit PBM.

  1. B4C Fitness (08:10:6)
  2. Team Cape CrossFit (08:53:7)
  3. CrossFit PBM (10:12:0)
  4. CrossFit Platinum (10:38:0)