2021 CrossFit Asia Invitational Qualifier Recap: Games Invitations and Results

One of the final chances for many athletes to get to the Games, this event saw some of the strongest competition yet.

June 18th marked the fourth and final weekend of Semifinal qualifying events for athletes looking to secure their passage to the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin. Two of the three events (The Asia Invitational and the Atlas Games) held over the weekend were reorganized into virtual competitions with programming directly from CrossFit HQ.

With only two qualifying slots per division available, the Asia Invitational saw the best athletes in the region battling their hearts out for a coveted ticket to the most prestigious event of the year. Below are details about each workout, standout performances, and leaderboards showcasing who came out on top.

Related: 2021 German Throwdown Recap

2021 CrossFit Asia Invitational Leaderboard

It is not inaccurate to say that the leaderboards at the CrossFit Asia Invitational (CAI) would look like the flag of the Russian Federation. Strong showings from countries like Korea, China, and Iran are worth mentioning, but the Russians ultimately led the field in overall points.

With only two Games-qualification spots per division, the Russian Federation made a strong public statement by occupying three out of four individual slots (female runner-up Seungyeon Choi of Korea played spoiler for Svetlana Veselova) as well as nabbing first place on the Team leaderboard. Whether they can maintain this level of success at the Games remains to be seen.


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Note: Games qualifiers are indicated below in bold.


1. Stas Solodov (544)
2. Aleksandar Ilin (538)
3. Roman Khrennikov (528)
4. Denis Samsonov (508)
5. Morteza Sedaghat (468)
6. Timofey Prolubnikov (416)
7. Hamzeh Tarefi (400)
8. Zhenhua Zhou (339)
9. Ant Haynes (326)
10. Seokbeom Kim (322)


1. Svetlana Kubyshkina (544)
2. Seungyeon Choi (512)
3. Svetlana Veselova (504)
4. Yuko Sakuyama (500)
5. Aizhan Zharasova (480)
6. Alexsandra Buzunova (472)
7. Seher Kaya (405)
8. Or Cohen (394)
9. Kamila Takeyeva (388)
10. Dawon Jung (382)

Individual Event Results

Many of the events at the CAI echo the trends that have been seen at the Games in recent years — grueling endurance challenges that even repeat attendees would consider no laughing matter.

The event leaderboards from the weekend confirmed popular sentiment that Russia would dominate, with athletes like Alexsandar Ilin, Stas Solodov, and Svetlana Kubyshkina crushing the competition by impressive margins. Ilin led his countrymen to claim three of the top four positions in Workout 2, where the 31-year-old ranked first by almost a full minute. Ilin would’ve likely been the overall male leader if not for a serious blunder in Workout 3 where he placed 15th, a staggering departure from all other events where he was either first or second.

That said, Russia didn’t occupy all of the limelight. In the fourth event, a brutal snatch gauntlet, female athletes Jiaxi Wang of China and Seungyeon Choi of Korea turned in identical results, each performing 46 total reps in what was likely the closest race of the weekend.

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Workout 1 – Friendly Fran

For time: 3 rounds of 21 thrusters (85lb/115lb), 21 chest-to-bar pull-ups.


1. Aleksandar Ilin (RUS) 3:43
2. Stas Solodov (RUS) 3:45
3. Hamzeh Tarefi (PSE) 4:00


1. Svetlana Kubyshkina (RUS) 4:53
2. Aizhan Zharasova (RUS) 5:12
3. Svetlana Veselova (RUS) 5:23

Workout 2

For time: 50 dumbbell shoulder-to-overheads, 50 dumbbell deadlifts, 50 GHD sit-ups, 100 single-arm dumbbell overhead squats, 50 GHD sit-ups, 50 dumbbell deadlifts, 50 dumbbell shoulder-to-overheads. 25min time cap. (35lb/50lb)


1. Aleksandar Ilin (RUS) 10:59
2. Stas Solodov (RUS) 11:43
3. Roman Khrennikov (RUS) 12:09


1. Svetlana Veselova (RUS) 12:26
2. Aizhan Zharasova (RUS) 13:21
3. Seungyeon Choi (KOR) 13:30

Workout 3

For time: 30 muscle-ups, 30m dumbbell front-rack lunge, 300 double-unders, 20 muscle-ups, 20m dumbbell front-rack lunge, 200 double-unders, 10 muscle-ups, 10m dumbbell front-rack lunge, 100 double-unders. 25min time cap. (35lb/50lb)


1. Roman Khrennikov (RUS) 16:22
2. Seokbeom Kim (KOR) 16:44
3. Zhenhua Zhou (CHN) 16:45


1. Svetlana Kubyshkina (RUS) 18:18
2. Yuko Sakuyama (JPN) 18:31
3. Aizhan Zharasova (RUS) 20:04

Workout 4

10min AMRAP: 10 snatches (85lb/135lb), rest 1min. 10 snatches (125lb/185lb), rest 1min. 10 snatches (145lb/225lb), rest 1min. Max-rep snatches (145lb/225lb) in time remaining.


1. Morteza Sedaghat (IRN) 50 reps
2. Aleksandar Ilin (RUS) 47 reps
3. Denis Samsonov (KGZ) 46 reps


1. Jiaxi Wang (CHN) 46 reps
2. Seungyeon Choi (KOR) 46 reps
3. Uracha Teerawanitsan (THA) 44 reps

Workout 5

For time: 2000m row, 60m handstand walk, 5 legless rope climbs, 1000m row, 40m handstand walk, 4 legless rope climbs, 500m row, 20m handstand walk, 3 legless rope climbs. 30min time cap.


1. Aleksandar Ilin (RUS) 19:45
2. Stas Solodov (RUS) 19:52
3. Roman Khrennikov (RUS) 20:28


1. Svetlana Veselova (RUS) 23:33
2. Svetlana Kubyshkina (RUS) 29:11
3. Yuko Sakuyama (JPN) 29:12

Workout 6

10 rounds for time: 3 clean and jerks, 3 bar-facing burpees (95lb/135lb). 7min time cap.


1. Stas Solodov (RUS) 2:15
2. Aleksandar Ilin (RUS) 2:25
3. Denis Samsonov (KGZ) 2:37


1. Yuko Sakuyama (JPN) 3:05
2. Seungyeon Choi (KOR) 3:07
3. Seher Kaya (TUR) 3:07

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Team Results

The group events at the Asia Invitational saw another standout performance from the Russian Federation, with Kolesnikov Team securing first position ahead of Team Dubai. Ranked third in the world in this year’s Open, Kolesnikov is poised to represent the Asian region strongly this year in Madison.

Team Dubai put on an impressive show in their own right, nabbing first position in events 2, 5, and 6, all of which they stole out from under rival team Kolesnikov. Despite finishing 15 points shy of the powerhouses from the Russian Federation, Dubai still maintained an impressive 75pt lead ahead of third place finishers CrossFit Muharraq.

Overall Team Leaders

1. Kolesnikov Team 585
2. Team Dubai 570
3. CrossFit Muharraq 495
4. WOD Friends 465
5. Redyar 425
6. Mvmt Dubai 415
7. Team Conan 380
8. Terfit 350
8. CrossFit Sprut 350
8. Drama Guns of Ryuku 350

Looking Forward

With the conclusion of the three events this weekend, the Semifinal qualifying period has come to a close and the pathway to Madison is finally clear. However, there is still one event remaining before the big show.

An online-exclusive Last-Chance Qualifier will be held the week of June 28 for individual athletes who finished within three spots of a Games qualification. This represents the absolute final chance for anyone desperate to make their debut (or return) to the biggest event of the year and the only way to have a shot at the title or multimillion dollar prize pool.

Solodov and Kubyshkina have both punched their tickets to their first Games appearances, joining a large pool of newcomers and decorated veterans alike. For some, qualifier performances tell of future success in Madison with the whole world watching. For others, the pressure might be too much. In just over a month, we’ll know exactly where each piece falls on the board.

Featured image: @asiainvitational on Instagram