February 28, 2012
Week One in Review: Asia
By John Frankl

The opening event brought out a full 367 individual male and 141 female competitors.

The Open portion of the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games opened with a very big bang in Asia. This region brings together a huge mixture of political and religious views, but all competitors agreed that the first workout of the season—seven minutes of burpees for max reps—represented truly intelligent design.

Although all were appropriately apprehensive about the workout, none backed down. The opening event brought out a full 367 individual male and 141 female competitors. This represents a very significant growth in overall numbers, as well as improvement in gender balance from previous years.

Singapore’s Feng Yi Chew, not satisfied with her first attempt at 127, completed the workout twice to score a very impressive 130 burpees. This places her in 34th overall, a great leap forward for Asia. In fact, only one male in Asia beat her—Misawa Air Base’s Mike Wendelken with 139, who leads the men for this week.

The man in 2nd place, Emanuel Kandel, is from CrossFit Jerusalem; 3rd place is held by Raj Pal from India’s CrossFit Sri Ram Ashram, while 4th place is held by Korea’s Seong-Hyun Go, who took 5th place in Asia last year, and got 129 burpees last week – after hitting 133 only to find out his camera was broken.

The 2nd and 3rd place women, Charlotte Mathers and Carrie Freestone, are both from Dubai’s CrossFit The Burn Room. There are two female athletes tied for 4th place—Keiko Cross and Maura McGraw—are both from Okinawa’s Reebok CrossFit Asia, last year’s team winner. In Korea, newcomer Goeun Noh scored 105 burpees, beating last year’s champion Candice Howe by a single rep and putting her in 7th place.

All in all, we have a tremendously good and even distribution across the different countries and nationalities in Asia. In addition to these outstanding individual athletes, group participation and community building has also grown. Sixty-six athletes did the Open Workout together at Seoul’s Reebok CrossFit Sentinel alone.

In the coming weeks, on Saturday nights, Reebok CrossFit Sentinel and Reebok CrossFit Fighting Spirit will take turns hosting Open Workouts. These are great chances for unaffiliated athletes or those from outside major cities to gain exposure to state of the art facilities and official judging standards. We truly hope that other venues in Asia are doing or will begin similar team-building events in this large and rapidly growing CrossFit region.

*The scores and rankings are unofficial until Tuesdays at 5 p.m., PT.