US league beckons Garard after CrossFit let-down

CROSSFIT

Southern Highlands CrossFit star Ben Garard will turn his attention to the National Pro Fitness League in August after an untimely illness derailed his 2014 CrossFit Games campaign on Sunday.

Ben Garard

Ben Garard

Garard finished 11th out of the top 48 CrossFit athletes in Australia and New Zealand during the weekend's CrossFit Australian Regionals event in Wollongong.

The 1.66-metre pocket dynamo came into the event ranked second in Australia after the nationwide Opens qualifiers in March and April but was unable to secure a top-three finish and book a ticket to the CrossFit Games in California in July.

Garard battled a virus in the lead-up to the event which proved a setback.

"I fought back from my illness as hard as I could and I can hold my head up knowing that I gave the weekend's event my best effort," Garard said.

Still regarded as one of Australia's fittest and strongest men, he will compete professionally in the NPFL - a new US sporting competition - beginning in August.

The new league comprises eight teams including Garard's San Francisco Firebreathers.

Favourite Rob Forte showed his class in winning his second Australian Regional in a row.

Fellow veteran Brendon Swan was second and Drummoyne surprise packet Kahn Porter finished third to earn his first crack at the CrossFit Games.

Denae Brown shook off a two-year absence to score a surprise victory in the women's ahead of defending champion Kara Webb and Pip Malone.

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