National CrossFit titles hit Wollongong

CrossFit king Ben Garard, shows his form.
CrossFit king Ben Garard, shows his form.

Wollongong will host 96 of Australia's fittest men and women all vying for the title of "fittest on Earth" when the 2014 Australian CrossFit Regional hits the WIN Entertainment Centre floor on Friday.

The Australian Regional, now in its third year in Wollongong, is one of 17 events held in a worldwide quest to crown the world's fittest man and woman.

Australia's top 48 men, 48 women and 30 teams will compete across seven varying workouts with a podium finish booking a ticket to the CrossFit Games in California in July.

One of the men in the running for the title, Southern Highlands athlete Ben Garard, said the regional was all about delivering under pressure.

"The way the events are structured it tests you in a pressure situation," Garard said.

"It comes down to who can execute and make minimal mistakes throughout the weekend.

"That extra pressure of having the other guys right next to you knowing exactly where you're at makes it more of a competition than just a test against yourself.

"I generally thrive in that sort of atmosphere. It's just about controlling the nerves and the excitement before so that once it starts you're ready to go."

Garard, along with 200,000 other athletes worldwide, completed five separate workouts as part a five-round online CrossFit Open and qualified second for Friday's regional behind Frankston CrossFit veteran Brendan Forte.

Garard expects Forte, fellow veterans Chad McKay and Brendon Swan and the third-ranked Blue Mountains athlete Matt Reilly, to pose a formidable challenge.

"They're multiple CrossFit Games athletes and they've been on the podium the last three years in this event," Garard said.

"Everyone knows each other's potential but in the end you can only control what you do. It just comes down to your own individual performance and your preparation.

"In some events there's some guys who can come out of nowhere and take a first-placed finish but it's more about being consistent across the seven events.

"If you can maintain that you'll end up near the top of the leaderboard."

The 166-centimetre pocket dynamo is extra hungry heading into the event after being ruled out of the 2013 CrossFit Games on a technicality.

"I'm just using everything to my advantage," he said.

"It's making me hungrier than ever to be out there and to prove myself against these guys."


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