April 8, 2013
Week Five in Review: Asia
By Jennifer Tan

Amongst the triple-unders and creative chippers were numerous predictions of Fran variations, but nobody quite managed to guess Dave Castro's twist on the benchmark workout.

When CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro hinted at the “bloodbath” that would be 13.5, Facebook and Twitter must have surely felt the strain from the surge of status updates and posts that followed, as thousands of athletes around the world contemplated what the fifth and final Open workout might be.

Amongst the triple-unders and creative chippers were numerous predictions of Fran variations, but nobody quite managed to guess Castro’s twist on the benchmark workout.

A four-minute AMRAP cycle of chest-to-bar Fran, with a time bonus of an additional four minutes for every 90 reps completed, was what the CrossFit world had to face in week five.

Out of the five workouts to grace this year’s Open, this was the one that most athletes did not want to do more than once, but with hungry eyes set on the 48 and 30 qualifying spots for individuals and teams, athletes were driven to make every attempt they could to hit the eight-minute time cap to help secure their place at Regionals.

The 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open has been nothing short of astounding, with record numbers of registered athletes and teams for the Asia Region. Michael Mogard, who finished in second place overall, put into words what most of us have been thinking over the last couple of days.

“Congratulations to all who competed in the 2013 Open. I think we can all say we are inspired, humbled and a little sad that it’s over.”


Ever since claiming Asia’s top spot in week two, Yousef Albaqsami has refused to move. The athlete appears to have taken a leaf out of Rich Froning’s book, by not taking first place for a single workout, yet still coming out on top, with a very clear margin of 22 points or more between him and his fellow competitors.

“Yousef performed every Open workout more than once until he was satisfied with his score,” says Albaqsami’s wife, Haya Alsharhan, who finished 19th in Asia. “He did 13.1 and 13.2 twice, 13.3 three times, 13.4 four times and 13.5 three times. We are all very proud of him. Not only is he representing our box, CrossFit Q8, but Kuwaiti CrossFitters as a whole. It's all very exciting.”

Mogard sits in second place, a small, yet significant difference from his third-place finish at last year’s Open. With more than triple the number of male athletes having competed in the 2013 Open in the region, Mogard had his work cut out for him — yet still managed to clear the path and sit himself firmly in the second most sought after position in Asia at present.

Another top-five regular and ultimately third-place finisher is Cameron Currie. His consistent performances on each workout have ensured his place at Seoul, Korea, and he is already looking forward to it.

“I hit 141 reps on it. I’m happy with that,” Currie says. “Now looking toward Regionals and staying focused in my training.”

With 176 reps to his name, Timmy Jacobsson took the No. 1 spot for 13.5, that’s four chest-to-bars shy of making it to the 12-minute time cap. Not only does that place him in the four percent of competitors who got to play with Fran more than once, but he was also painfully (in every sense of the word) close to being one of the elite few who managed a third attempt.


In spite of guaranteed places in Seoul, it seems the top male and female contenders for Asia have something in common. Nicole Tainatongo of CrossFit 671, who has dominated this year’s Open in Asia, also put herself through 13.5 no less than three times.

"The first time I scored 75 reps and the other two times I scored 78. The thrusters weren’t a problem but the chest-to-bars were a challenge,” Tainatongo recalls. “I wanted to get past the first four minutes so badly and I was getting frustrated with myself. But after that third attempt I realized why I love CrossFit so much — the fact that it always leaves me with the feeling of wanting more.”

The only female athlete in Asia to hit the eight-minute time cap was Marlene Andersson, whose top-10 results in all five workouts have rightfully earned her a second-place finish in the 2013 Open.

“I was truly nervous beforehand because last time I did Fran was January last year. Back then I did it in 4:29, so I had to break my personal best by 29 seconds doing chest-to-bar pull-ups and that freaked me out. When I did it, I knew I just had to keep moving. Once I made it into the eight-minute bracket it was a feeling of ‘Yes I made it!’ and ‘Oh damn, I need to do more,’” she laughs. “I was so tired when I finished, but I had a great gang around me that kept cheering and pushing me on which was invaluable. I can't describe how happy I am to have made that first time breaker.”


No surprises as to who took the top team spots in Asia, with CrossFit Misawa and CrossFit Asia staying firmly planted in first and second places, respectively.

“I am beyond words how happy I am to see how far our affiliate has come in such a short amount of time,” Daniel Hershey, two-time Games competitor and head coach at Misawa, says. “We started offering classes a little over a year ago, we officially became CrossFit Misawa less than six months ago and we had the largest team in Asia during the Open. I believe that to be a testament to the program we offer and more importantly the awesome coaches we have, who volunteer their time on a daily basis. Without them, we have nothing. Being at the top of the region is great to see, as well. As a whole, our team is pretty green, even most of our top performers have been doing CrossFit for less than a year. We've had some people really break out of their shell and embrace the Open — stuff like that is what pumps people up, it’s what makes CrossFit different.”

CrossFit 671 and CrossFit Sentinel Downtown are tied for third with 17 points each –CrossFit Sentinel Downtown must have decided to pull out all the stops for the final Open workout to claim their piece of the top-three pie.

Sitting in fifth place are the 2012 CrossFit Asia Regional winners, Shogun CrossFit. The team turned heads during their performance in Seoul last year, as the underdogs who made it to the Games, and will no doubt be after a second shot at the title of Regional champions this June.