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.
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Having established himself as the dominant CrossFit athlete by winning the past 3 CrossFit Games, Mat Fraser came to Dubai with the laser focus of a fighter before a match. Arriving a week before the competition, Mat kept his schedule of training and recovery and his eyes on the prize. In Dubai, that prize is big. Really big. With $30,000 on the line in the last workout alone, and over $700,000 in total cash prizes available, the rewards for traveling to the United Arab Emirates are obvious. But it's not just about money- winning this very first official CrossFit Sanctional means Mat has clinched a spot at the 2019 CrossFit Games, which is nearly 8 months away. 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. Congratulations, Mat on securing your ticket to the 2019 Crossfit Games by winning first place here at the 2018 Dubai CrossFit®️ Championship! 📷: @ckdesigns_sa @mathewfras #dubaicrossfitchampionship #crossfitgames #crossfit
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.
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Experience and grit counts! Samantha Briggs came off a season plagued by injury and surgery. And yet here she is, standing atop a field of elite women significantly younger than her. With 7 event finishes in the top 3, including event wins on 2 of the final 3 events, she has proven that she still has the capacity to not just compete, but to dominate events at the highest level. Samantha battled next to her friend and training partner Jamie Greene all weekend. Lined up next to each other in the last event, the two women propelled themselves toward the finish, with Sam being the only woman to complete Event 10. What a race to close out a contest that went back and forth between the two fierce competitors all weekend long. Welcome back to the individual competition at the 2019 CrossFit Games Sam Briggs! We are excited to announce you as the woman who has earned the qualifying spot from the2018 Dubai CrossFit®️ Championship! 📷: @ckdesigns_sa @bicepslikebriggs @jgreenewod #dubaicrossfitchampionship #crossfitgames #crossfit
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