It was “no rest for the weary” for Luka Đukić when it came to competition as he rang in the New Year with a dominating victory at the 2023 Sports For All (SFA) SandClash. The two-day competition was held Jan. 6-7, 2023, inside Grenada Square in the heart of Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Đukić won four of the six events in the Elite division at a competition that featured over 800 athletes from 40 different countries across seven divisions.
With his four event wins, Đukić garnered a runner-up finish in the fifth workout. His fourth-place finish in the second workout was his worst finish of the weekend.
In the opening workout, which featured three rounds of a 750-meter row and sandbag movements, Đukić set the pace, besting two-time Games athlete Aleksandar Ilin by over 30 seconds. After his fourth-place finish in workout two, Đukić recorded back-to-back wins in workouts three and four — besting Souza by 25 seconds in workout three, a chipper that included biking for calories, GHDs, toes-to-bars, and legless rope climbs.
In workout four, Đukić held off a late charge by Ilin and finished with four more reps than the 2022 CrossFit Open Russian National Champion. Souza finally got the upper hand over Đukić in workout five, recording 10 more hang power cleans at 185 pounds after completing five rounds of 16-calorie ski and 12 pistol squats in an 11-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible). The second-place finish by Đukić all but wrapped up the title. He won the final workout by one rep over Souza.
Đukić’s worst finish was still a personal victory as he set a PR with a 275-pound thruster for two reps. This is the second major Individual championship of Đukić’s career, having captured the German Throwdown title in 2021.
Who is Luka Đukić?
The win in Saudi Arabia continues what has been a hectic off-season for the 23-year-old Đukić. It was his fourth competition since competing at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games Last-Chance Qualifier (LCQ). He placed seventh at the 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship (DFC) a month earlier.
Before competing at the 2022 DFC, Đukić placed seventh at the Madrid Championship in September and scored a runner-up finish at the Battle of Wermland in July. Those events came on the heels of failing to qualify for the 2022 Games, finishing sixth at the Lowlands Throwdown, and then failing to garner one of the two invites from the LCQ.
Đukić made his Games debut in 2021 at 22 years old and placed 29th. He’s registered to compete at the Valhalla Signature Games in Kuwait on Jan. 27-28, 2023, as he concludes his Middle East tour and prepares for the 2023 Games season.
Other Notable Performances
Luka’s older brother Lazar Đukić teamed up with DFC champion Karin Freyová to capture Germany’s RheinGym Double Trouble Mixed Team title, winning three of the five events. It was the second year the elder Đukić won a championship at the Double Trouble, as he won the 2022 title with Luka.
Brazilian Julia Kato, a 2022 Games rookie, won the women’s division at SFA Sandclash by winning three workouts.
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Featured image courtesy of SFA SandClash