Crossfit athletes from Portadown qualify for US games

Six athletes from Portadown have become the first in Ireland to qualify for a high profile competition in America.

The athletes earned an invitation to compete for the title "Fittest on Earth," at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games on August 3-7 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

They were among only 442 competitors out of nearly 260,000 contestants who progressed to the competition.  

The team includes Emma Willis, Kerri Hewitt, Louis Pearson, and Jim Neill, while Masters Athlete Joanne McCullough and adaptive athlete Benjamin Fallon will compete as individuals.

Adaptive athlete Benjamin Fallon (32) was diagnosed with MS in 2019.

He has qualified in a special adaptive category and says he refuses to let his condition stop him:

"They are trying to give people hope that are struggling with some type of degenerative disease or have some life altering disability to say life doesn't have to be over."

Two years after his diagnosis he 2021, CrossFit put out an open call to adaptive athletes across multiple categories: neuromuscular, upper extremity, lower extremity, and more.

He told UTV about the moment he decided to compete: "I was streaming the 2021 CrossFit Games on YouTube, and out of nowhere, I was shocked to watch coverage of an athlete with multiple sclerosis competing on the international stage," said Fallon.

"I was excited at the prospect of competing for the first time in CrossFit, but never did I dream I had a chance to actually qualify for the Games.

"All credit goes to my coaches, my teammates, and everyone in the gym who believed in me when I didn't believe in myself."Kerri Hewitt is an ED doctor at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

The 26-year old is part of the team travelling out to America at the end of July.

"We all train twice a day throughout the year.

"A session before work and a session after work .. I think you have to be mad to do Crossfit... you have to really want to push yourself to the limit and learn new things and not everyone wants to do that."

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