Plans are already in place for the Down Under Championship to return to the Illawarra in 2024 after Australia's premier CrossFit competition proved another winner for the region.
The three-day championship - which was held indoors at the WIN Entertainment Centre with competitors also hitting the beaches and Flagstaff Hill - concluded on Sunday.
CrossFit is a high-intensity program that combines gymnastics, Olympic-style weightlifting and general fitness. More than 300 of Australia's fittest CrossFit athletes - along with some international stars - were put through a series of gruelling workouts.
Maddie Sturt and Peter Ellis emerged as the major individual winners of 2023. Melbourne's Sturt returned to Wollongong to defend her women's crown, while Blaxland's Ellis was the standout individual men's performer at the championship.
California Gurls claimed victory in the elite women's teams category and Team Frog Grips won the equivalent men's event.
The Illawarra has been home to the Down Under Championship for several years, and the event's media director John Bric said the 2023 competition proved another major success.
"We had a good crowd turnout again and some fantastic performances by all of the athletes. The only downside was a bit of rain on Saturday, but I suppose that only added to the action," Bric told the Mercury.
"Wollongong is pretty much the heartland of CrossFit in Australia. We've been here for over 10 years in terms of hosting CrossFit events at the WIN Entertainment Centre, so at this stage I reckon we plan to come back (next year). We certainly love the town, the international competitors love it so it's a great venue to have it.
"With CrossFit, I think it's important that you do things inside and outside. We always expect people and athletes to train for the unexpected, and we like to throw in some random elements to test our fitness. So having outdoor activities right next to WIN Stadium is fantastic for events like CrossFit.
"There is also no major traffic, parking is relatively easy and everything is accessible by foot. So it's a relaxing place to be for international guests and CrossFit enthusiasts."