Former Clitheroe CrossFit athlete Phil Hesketh will battle to become Britain’s first male competitor to qualify for the Games after leaving some of the European elite in his wake at his latest event.
Hesketh, who now trains in Dubai with InnerFight CrossFit DXB, topped a chart of 100 male entrants to scoop $7,500 at the Athlete Games after eight workouts over two days at Manchester’s Phones 4u Arena.
The champion culminated the competition on 765 points, with Cheltenham’s Will Kane finishing in the runner-up spot 37 points behind. Switzerland’s Jonas Muller (CrossFit Turicum) came third, Twickenham athlete Benjamin Massey (Blitz CrossFit) was fourth while Lukas Esslinger (Reebok CrossFit Zurich) ended the competition in fifth.
Hesketh qualified for the finals in sixth position following three gruelling workouts comprising timed sets of rower jumping burpees, double unders, pull ups, ring muscle ups, cleans, deadlifts, wall ball shots and box jumps.
The first workout was four rounds for time of 10 front squats, 15 toes-to-bar and one lap of the arena, which saw Hesketh finish third with a time of four minutes and 46 seconds.
The second workout, ‘The Total’, included a one rep max test on squats, press and deadlifts with Hesketh coming in second with a combined weight of 550kg.
Hesketh dropped to 19th in workout three after completing 138 reps in a nine-minute window of 10 ground-to-overhead, a 15 calorie row and 20 pull ups, but hit form again in ‘ThrAmanda’ with a time of two minutes and 59 seconds for various sets of thrusters and muscle ups.
He topped the board in workout five - The Snatch Ladder - when climbing to 120kg, finished 12 seconds behind workout six leader Muller in a round of 20 deadlifts, 20 kettlebell swings, 20 overhead squats, 20 burpess, 20 chest-to-bar pull ups, 20 box jumps and 20 DB squat cleans with seven laps of the arena spread throughout.
The penultimate round saw Hesketh finish 17th after completing four handstand walks, 12 bar muscle ups and a two-lap farmer’s walk in three minutes and 22 seconds.
But he stepped it up again impressively in a two-part final round to take victory.
He’ll now bid to become one of 30 men from across Europe and Australia to advance from the Open to the regional stages of the CrossFit Games.