On Jan. 10, 2o23, CrossFit HQ released a statement announcing athletes who were granted region exemptions to compete in the 2023 CrossFit season outside their original region. Only two athletes were on the list: Antonio Barrias and Roman Khrennikov.
Barrias’ original region was Europe, but he will compete in Asia in 2023, specifically China. Khrennikov’s original region was Asia — he’s a Russian native — but he has been given an exemption to compete in the North America East region for 2023.
Barrias has competed in the CrossFit Open every year since 2015. His career-best worldwide Open finish was 428th in 2015. He was the top male athlete in the Open in Macao in 2017 and 2018.
From 2019-2022, Barrias represented Portugal in the Open. In 2019, he was 524th in the world but eighth in Portugal. 2023 will be the first time he will compete in China.
Khrennikov moved to the USA from Russia in early March 2022 after receiving his visa application a month earlier. After years of being unable to compete at the CrossFit Games due to visa issues, Khrennikov could compete in his Games debut in 2022 and did not disappoint. He ranked as the second Fittest Man on Earth® behind two-time reigning Fittest Man on Earth® Justin Medeiros and ahead of bronze medalist Ricky Garard.
Khrennikov was able to compete in the Games in 2020 when he did not have to travel outside his home country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He ranked 13th overall — only the top five men and top five women competed in person at the Games that year. Five-time Fittest Man on Earth® Mat Fraser and Six-time reigning Fittest Woman on Earth® Tia-Clair Toomey won their respective divisions in 2020.
In 2021, Khrennikov won the 2021 Dubai CrossFit Championship. He has Semifinal victories at the 2019 Italian Showdown and the 2022 Far East Throwdown. He was the bronze medalist at the 2021 Asia Invitational.