Clitheroe athlete Phil Hesketh has become the first British male to qualify for the CrossFit Games in six years.
The InnerFight representative, who trains out of the United Arab Emirates, finished fifth overall in the Meridian Regionals to book his place in the finale in Carson, California, on July 21st.
Hesketh endured a brutal three-day schedule at the Ballerup Super Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, but he excelled over the seven events to accumulate 496 points.
That was enough to see him advance alongside Jonne Koski, Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, fellow UK competitor Steven Fawcett and Lukas Hogberg.
Hesketh culminated event one, entitled “Randy”, in 13th spot having completed 75 snatches at 75lb in 02:57.2 while the following event, “Tommy V”, a gruelling sequence incorporating 45 thrusters at 115lb and 27 rope climbs, was completed in the third fastest time of 8:09.8.
He then finished 62 seconds over the 26-minute time cap for event three, a punishing routine that includes a one-mile run, 50 overhead squats at 135lb, 100 GHD sit-ups, 150 double-unders, 50 sumo deadlift high pulls, again at 135lb, and 100 box jump overs at 24in.
Hesketh hit the halfway point with his most underwhelming finish of the process, spiralling down the leaderboard after the 250ft handstand walk in event four but recovered with a sensational display of form in the remaining events.
His 257lb one-rep max snatch was enough to secure third in event five before he timed 14:05.2 to complete five rounds of a 25-calorie row, 16 chest-to-bar pull-ups and nine strict deficit handstand push-ups to register an eighth place finish in event six.
The competition was then rounded off with event seven, a ladder of five squat cleans covering five weights from 205lb to 265lb. And Hesketh finished third with a time of 1:24.9 to leapfrog Filip Yang Fisker at the last opportunity to land the final qualifying spot.