A Brisbane event that started in a local gym has been named one of 10 official global qualifying events for the CrossFit Games, the world’s largest participatory sporting event.
Renowned around the world as the definitive test of fitness, the CrossFit Games determine the Fittest Man and Fittest Woman on Earth, with an international field of play that includes athletes from over 120 countries. The CrossFit Games Finals have been broadcast on ESPN, CBS and a wide range of international channels, and also attract a large streaming audience.
Brisbane’s Torian Pro event has now been added to the global CrossFit Games Semifinal lineup, making it one of 10 official events worldwide that will offer athletes a path to quality for the CrossFit Games Finals.
Brisbane duo Johno Snape and Mike Towner held the first Torian Pro in 2015 in their own gym facility, CrossFit Torian, with just over 100 athletes taking part. By 2019, the event had transformed into a three-day fitness festival at the Queensland Tennis Centre, with over 10,000 enthusiasts turning out to watch 512 athletes of all ages and fitness levels go head-to-head.
“We never imagined this,” Johno says. “It started out as a small passion project to give local emerging CrossFit athletes a place to compete and showcase their talents. It’s been great watching the event grow and evolve over the years with the support it has received from the global CrossFit community.
“We have also received support from organisations such as the Brisbane Economic Development Agency and Tourism and Events Queensland, and built mutually beneficial relationships with a large number of local businesses ranging from apparel and sporting equipment manufacturers, food and beverage companies, and health and fitness services.”
Johno says the Torian Pro was one of a number of events across Australia and New Zealand that received a request for proposal from CrossFit, LLC late last year.
“As part of this process, we presented a number of key event objectives within our vision of inclusivity for mass participation, growth strategies, and showcasing Brisbane as a world-class sporting destination,” he says.
“I think our obvious passion and the hard work we had put in to building the event over the years were major factors to our success.”
A total of 580 athletes are expected to compete across the Elite, Pro, Masters, Teens, Teams and Beginner divisions at this year’s Torian Pro event in May, which Johno says will solidify Brisbane’s place on the CrossFit map.
“We know the event will have a significant economic impact on our city, attracting fans from all over Australia and overseas,” he says.
“As proud, born and raised Queenslanders, we are thrilled to see it in our very own backyard. Brisbane continues to be known as a unique health and lifestyle destination and we believe the event will place Brisbane on the world stage once again for the global CrossFit community.”
While international athletes are not expected to have a strong presence at this year’s Torian Pro due to COVID restrictions, Johno expects that to change in the years to come.
“International visitation outside of New Zealand will be very limited this year due to the current restrictions,” he says.
“However, athletes returning home to compete from other countries will be quarantining as per the Queensland Health guidelines. The Queensland Government has done an exceptional job throughout the pandemic, so we trust their processes and guidelines and don’t have any cause for concern.
“We’re confident that despite the obvious challenges events are facing, this year’s event will be a huge success and a much needed celebration for our community. We have an enormous amount of support from the local community and we look forward to welcoming back more of our internationally based fans and athletes as restrictions start to ease.”