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Athletes from around the world are set to put their strength and conditioning skills to the test this weekend in a challenging CrossFit competition, writes Mai Al Khatib-Camille.
The ELFIT Bahrain Throwdown, which will be staged at Marassi Al Bahrain Beach from 7am to 7pm and is held under the patronage of Ayman Almoayyad, the Minister of Youth and Sport Affairs, will feature 276 athletes aged 15 and above competing for glory and cash prizes.
CrossFit is an effective exercise regimen and lifestyle that flourished within the kingdom. It has attracted several health and fitness fanatics to take up the programme which includes a mix of aerobics, calisthenics and Olympic weight lifting.
Bader Alalawi, owner of Unilimited Plus Crossfit and organiser, explained: “CrossFit is known as a physical exercise and a competitive fitness sport. It is a strength and conditioning programme that aims to improve overall fitness by performing varied functional movements at high intensity.
“The great thing about it is the CrossFit community – it’s a strong and encouraging one that helps push limits. It’s also an inviting community that encourages all ages from children to seniors to participate in the exercises and improve their overall health and well-being.”
While there have been CrossFit competitions staged on the island in the past, according to its organisers, “this is the first time a competition of this size is taking place in Bahrain.”
Mohamed Alkhaja, project manager of the event, said: “ELFIT started in Egypt, and it was an idea to host high-scaled CrossFit competitions in the MENA region. It grew and became one of the most important and recognised events in the region and internationally with 30 plus events taking place in Egypt and more than 5,000 athletes competing. It was time to switch things up and take this competition to a new home. Thus, this is the first time any ELFIT event is held outside of Egypt.
“This competition attracts many athletes and it’s on their calendars every year to attend. Since its being hosted in a new location, people are even more excited to get a sense of the sports and fitness scene on the island. We have athletes registered from 41 countries including Kuwait, UAE, UK, US, South Africa, Iceland and more. The vibes will be great and working out outdoors always has its special feel.”
The competition consists of five workouts that will qualify contenders to the semifinals, followed by a final that will crown the top three of each division. The divisions include individual males, individual females, male teams and mixed scaled teams. First place will receive BD450, second will get BD300 and third will be awarded BD250.
Alalawi added: “All workouts are programmed and customised to this competition through our technical partner Prepared, which is run by Phil Hesketh two times CrossFit Games athlete.
“We want to showcase the Bahraini CrossFit community. We have athletes representing 58 different facilities and affiliates. We would also like to introduce Bahrainis to the sport and invite them to be part of this fitness and health lifestyle.
“This is the start for many competitions to follow with the objective of spreading a healthy lifestyle and showing people that they can do it, whilst giving them the space to try and push their limits and get out of their comfort zone in a way that’s gradual and considerate to their conditions and lifestyle.”
There will be a DJ, entertainment and 20 vendors selling food and beverages as well as sports products on the sidelines.
Alkhaja added: “Registration is complete and closed at the moment. Athletes had to go through qualifiers workouts and based on their performances they were accepted or rejected. People can still attend the event, get a feel of what it is and be on the lookout for the next events that will take place in Bahrain.”