Pakistan gets its first taste of CrossFit games

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KARACHI: Fitness used to be unquantifiable and arbitrary, with only subjective calls separating the fit athletes from the fitter and the fitter from the fittest.
Athletics, on the whole, is such a vast and varied field, it used to be almost impossible to tell how a particular class A athlete would fare, athletically, against a top performer from a different athletic niche.
But not anymore.
Thanks to the emergence of CrossFit games worldwide, judging, measuring and classifying fitness is now well within the realms of possibility.
First introduced in 2000 by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai, CrossFit Games puts gym-goers and fitness freaks through a series of workouts, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT), plyometrics, gymnastics and calisthenic exercises.
With points assigned for each task, whoever does best overall is adjudged the fittest of them all.
But ingenious inventions in sports usually take a fair bit of time to make it to Pakistan. And considering that CrossFit games, as a competition, have only been around since 2007, it should’ve been a while before Pakistan got a taste of it.
However, Fitin5 Games owner Mustafa Totana has made sure that his countrymen got in on the act by organising the country’s first-ever CrossFit competition.
250 athletes from as many as 15 gyms from all across Pakistan took part in the inaugural Fitin5 Crossfit Games.
The Games not only livened up the usually dull routines of gym rats but also promoted healthy lifestyle — one of the main reasons for mastermind Totana to bring the games to Pakistan.
“We have the gyms but not everyone can benefit from them as fitness is generally limited to a certain class only,” he said. “This is why we kept the participation fee low so that everyone could come in.”
As expected, Totana’s effort was widely appreciated, especially by the event’s first-time winners.
“It is a great initiative that Mustafa took,” Hisham Bokhari, who won the men’s competition with a tally of 460 points, told The Express Tribune. “It is huge in the US but it is new here. It will also help in spreading awareness regarding fitness. There were around 250 participants so going in I had no idea how it would be. But to go through all the challenges and the rigorous workouts was a lot of fun.”
But in Bokhari’s opinion, casual gym enthusiasts are not the only ones who can benefit off of Fitin5 Crossfit games. He feels the platform could also be used by professional sportsmen to improve their overall fitness.
“CrossFit is something that helps everyone,” he said. “It has helped me immensely as I also play different sports. It’s simply about strengthening and conditioning of the body, and so professional athletes can benefit from it too.”
While Bokhari blew his competition out of the water, his female counterpart and inaugural women’s champion Mehak Taherani (490) had to work a bit harder for her title as she edged out runner-up Sapna Amir by a mere 15 points and third-placed Sofia Butt by just 20.
A major reason why most natural athletes tend to avoid gyms is the absence of organised competitions at the end of it. The pageantry outlook of fitness gyms doesn’t tickle their fancy as much as track-oriented meets do.
CrossFit competitions solve this problem. Here, only the fittest survive.
(Edited by Zohaib Ahmed)

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