For one athlete, it was further proof of dominance, starting yet another season well ahead of the competition. For another, it was a return to form after a season dampened by injury. And ultimately, two CrossFit Games Individual Champions (and a familiar team) have punched their tickets to the 2019 CrossFit Games by winning the Dubai CrossFit Championship: Mat Fraser and Samantha Briggs.
In the first competition under the new CrossFit Games qualification system, Fraser performed as fans remembered him from last season, racking up a jaw-dropping number of event wins as he cruised to securing his Games spot roughly eight months before that competition even kicked off. As the official Dubai CrossFit Championships social media team put it:
Mat’s performance at the 2018 Dubai CrossFit Championship was nothing short of remarkable. 6 (7) 1st place finishes, 1 2nd-place, an 8th- and a 9th-place finish helped him sit pretty walking into the last Event, 102 points over the next competitor.
What’s always interesting about watching Mat compete is that although we as spectators often take it for granted that he will win, Mat himself doesn’t approach anything as a given. He has a plan, he focuses on his task and on his competition (without being distracted by them) and he executes each workout with exacting determination.
Heading into the final workouts of the weekend, Fraser — the three-time defending Games champ — had his win virtually assured.
Games veterans Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson and Willy Georges finished in second and third place, respectively, on the men’s side.
On the women’s side, a much tighter race unfolded, with only 7 points separating the top 4 athletes heading into the final event. Before the workout started, organizers announced the final event prize payout would increase to $30,000 each for Men, Women, and Team.
In the end, Sam Briggs was the only woman to complete Event 10, locking up a return to the CrossFit Games, which she won in 2013. After shoulder surgery kept her out of Individual competition last year — though she did compete as a Masters athlete — Briggs returns and will likely face a field of athletes significantly younger than her. Of course, that’s never been an issue for the incredibly consistent athlete many fans know simply as “The Engine.”
Jamie Greene and Sara Sigmundsdottir rounded out the top three.
In the Team competition, Lauren Fisher, Rasmus Andersen, Regan Huckaby, and Tommy Vinas secured the top spot for CrossFit Invictus, which marks the 11th straight CrossFit Games where a team from that gym has qualified.
Featured image: @ckdesigns_sa