CrossFit is currently big news, and Kuwait has not been left behind. Meet the CrossFit965 Team, who recently made Kuwait proud by competing on the country’s behalf at the Regionals competition. We sat down with them to give us information about the competition and their reasons for pursuing CrossFit.
The CrossFit competition season begins with the worldwide Open competition. Everyone in the world is invited to compete in five workouts over five weeks, posting their scores online in real time. This year, over 200,000 athletes competed in the Open. Competitors are then ranked both worldwide and by region. The fittest 48 men, 48 women, and 30 teams from each region earn invitations to one of 17 Regionals. This is the first chance athletes will have in 2014 to establish their international standings.
After the Open, the fittest from each of 17 regions around the world move on to the next phase of the season—Regionals. Athletes and spectators gather en masse to watch the CrossFit competition in a live format. Over the course of three days, athletes perform brutal events to test the range and depth of their capabilities. This year, the Asia regionals took place in Seoul, South Korea from May 23-25. CrossFit965 was one of the top 30 teams, and the first team from Kuwait to compete in Asia regionals ever. CrossFit965 is comprised of Head Coach Craig Drennan (36), Tarek Trad (28), Eloy Rodrigues (27), Moussa Alanezi (27), Dalal Al Qattan (27) Lulu Al Armeli (25), Jay Still (23), Haya Al-Issa, and Amy Freeman (27). Although they are competing as one team, their backgrounds and motivations are all very diverse.
bazaar: Hey CrossFit965! Tell us about yourselves and why you got into CrossFit.
Tarek Trad (@tarektrad): My background is obesity. When I started losing weight, I felt that I lagged behind my peers in terms of sport, but felt that I’ve got the commitment and energy. I got bored of traditional weightlifting at the gym, and got introduced to CrossFit. I’ve never felt more confident about myself, and now my aim in training is not to look better, but to perform better! It’s a great community!
Jay Still (@jayjstill): My partner is Ben Thompson, a.k.a. Speedy. He is one of the fittest men in Asia and a leader in CrossFit in Kuwait. Watching him motivated me to get into it.
Craig Drennan (@leanermenastronger): My friend told me to have a go. I did and failed miserably and realized I wasn’t fit at all, so went about rectifying it.
Haya Al-Issa (@hayaalissa): I had a great trainer (Ben Thompson) who made me love the sport. It changed the way I think about my strength and fitness and I liked the sense of community #onebigfamily
Dalal Al Qatan (@dalwaq): I wanted to be strong enough to aerial dance, then suddenly felt the love for the sport.
Eloy Rodrigues: It gave me something specific and measurable to gauge my improvements on and because of it I made a lot of friends in the community.
Lulu Alarmeli: I enjoy the sense of community, and it taught me that also as a smaller sized athlete, CrossFit has a lot to offer.
bazaar: Has CrossFit generated a following in Kuwait or is it still growing as a sport?
CrossFit has generated a following, with currently four gyms tailoring to this sport. That said, there is still plenty of room for growth as the sport just started to be recognized nationwide.
bazaar: How did the team form?
The individuals with the highest scores in the open made it to the team.
bazaar: What do you hope to achieve from the tournament?
Regardless of our performance, we are just happy to be the first team from Kuwait to ever represent in Asia Regionals. No matter how we perform, and if future teams from Kuwait make it, we will be happy, but it will be remembered that the first team to participate is CrossFit965.
bazaar: Were you faced with any challenges and what were they?
It’s very difficult to get a group of 8 opinionated individuals to get along. We had a few bumpy roads, but then focus on what’s best for the team and moved along. Another issue was funding. Costa Kuwait (@costakuwait) believes in the youth and being healthy, and they are excited to continuously support such initiatives that make Kuwait proud. They are our sole corporate sponsor, an initiative that no company was willing to do.
bazaar: What’s a common misconception about CrossFit and what would you recommend to people seeking to “up” their workout routine?
The biggest misconception is that it is dangerous and results in a lot of injury. Just like in any sport, when not coached correctly the result is injury. CrossFit requires a lot of work on mobility and warming up, and many people rush into the sport without mobilizing or warming up, and that’s when the injury takes place.
You can follow CrossFit965’s journey and show the team some support by checking their individual Instagram accounts listed or by following the team @CrossFit965. You can also follow the entire CrossFit Games by visiting games.CrossFit.com.