The CrossFit Games are the world’s premier test to find the fittest man and woman on earth. For the first time ever, two Sri Lankans have been invited to represent the country in the upcoming 2019 CrossFit Games in Wisconsin, USA.
The CrossFit Games are world-renowned as a grueling test for the toughest athletes on Earth. The Games were created to fill a void when no other true test of fitness existed. Since its inception in 2007, the CrossFit Games have become one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
Athletes qualify for the Games through the worldwide ‘Open’ at which Sri Lanka’s own Andy Andrews and Keshini Vitharana were crowned National Champions for Sri Lanka, earning them invitations to the CrossFit Games.
The ‘Open’ is a five-week, five-workout competition. Workouts are released online each Thursday, and athletes have until the following Monday to submit their scores. Anyone who’s at least 14 years old can sign up and join in the first stage of the CrossFit Games season. The top man and woman from each country (based on country of citizenship) are crowned a National Champion and earn a spot at the Games.
Andy, co-founder and Head Coach at CrossFit Ceylon, began his athletic career as a Golfer. He began to accumulate titles at a young age starting with being crowned the Sri Lankan Junior National Champion in 2001 and 2003. His early success was not limited to Sri Lanka, he was also crowned the 2003 Emirates Junior Champion and he was invited to join the U.A.E Junior Team from 2003 to 2005.
Andy’s early success in golf earned him an invitation to attended the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida from 2005 – 2008. IMG has been the training grounds for multiple World Class professional athletes representing all the major sporting leagues such as the National Football League (NFL), Professional Golfers Association (PGA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Some of IMG’s most famous students include Serena and Venus Williams, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Freddy Adu and Ben An.
Keshini, who was previously a Bronze medal winner at the Rowing Nationals in 2011, was introduced to CrossFit in early 2015 during a class Andy was coaching and they have been training partners since. After just a year of CrossFit and under Andy’s tutelage, Keshini won the Gold medals both at Colombo District Weightlifting Championships and the Western Province Weightlifting Championship in 2016. Keshini, a management trainee at MAS Kreeda, happened to achieve the highest grades in the world for Business Studies in the London A levels while coaching part time at CrossFit Ceylon.
As part of the CrossFit prescription, programming consists of “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” CrossFit advocates replacing lateral raises with push presses, the bicep curl with pull-ups, and the leg extension with squats. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements that reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting and metabolic conditioning (cardio).
By the numbers, CrossFit is possibly the biggest fitness trend in the world. CrossFit has 15,000 gyms in more than 130 countries, up from just 13 in 2005. That’s more than the 12,521 Starbucks locations in the United States. In 2019 approximately 400,000 people register for the Open with well over 100 sign ups in Sri Lanka alone.
CrossFit was formally introduced to Sri Lanka with the launch of CrossFit Ceylon which launched in 2018 with its 6000 sq.ft space in Colombo 2 – the only 100% dedicated functional fitness facility in the country. Commenting on the upcoming opportunity, Andy Andrews, the Head Coach at CrossFit Ceylon said: “It’s an honor to represent Sri Lanka and CrossFit Ceylon at the 2019 CrossFit Games. Competing at any level is something I deeply enjoy and it’s a privilege to be able to do it with the Fittest on Earth. There is nothing greater than representing your nation, and I plan on making every single Sri Lankan proud.”
At the time of writing there are now 3 CrossFit Affiliates in Sri Lanka and 16 Sri Lankan CrossFit Trainers on the official CrossFit Trainer Directory.