CrossFit Inc. has announced the Asia Championship as one of several new sanctioned events for the 2019 season, as qualification changes for the CrossFit Games take shape.

The event in China will take place in April next year, organisers said, as a qualifier for the 2019 Games at the Alliant Energy Centre in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Australian CrossFit Championship (January 2019), Reykjavik CrossFit Championship (May 2019), Down Under CrossFit Championship (May 2019) were also announced.

The first qualification event for the 2020 CrossFit Games will take place in China, too, with Pandaland CrossFit scheduled for December 2019 in Chengdu.

“These new events are a true testament to CrossFit’s global reach,” CrossFit founder Greg Glassman said.

“Whether athletes are competing in Wollongong, Reykjavik, or Shanghai, they represent the spirit of the CrossFit community – a community that today crosses more borders and contains more languages and cultures than we could have ever imagined at the start.”

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Organisers have replaced the old Regionals system with 16 worldwide invitationals which will each qualify their top male, female and team athletes to the CrossFit Games.

The events announced this week join the Mid-Atlantic Challenge, Fittest in Cape Town, French Throwdown, Brazil Championship, Strength in Depth in the UK, Italian Showdown, SouthFit CrossFit Challenge in the Netherlands and Lowlands Throwdown in Argentina as newly sanctioned events.

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The announcement comes amid sweeping changes as the sport goes international, in a bid to focus more on health and wellness.

The CrossFit Open phase, where potential competitors submit videos online, will also grant entry to the Games to one male athlete, one female, and one team from each country with a CrossFit affiliate. Registration for the Open begins on January 10, 2019.

Previously known as the China Invitational, the Asia CrossFit Championship will be the largest international CrossFit competition in the mainland.

“With event programming from CrossFit Games athletes Austin Malleolo, Spencer Hendel and James Hobart, the Championship is not one to miss,” said event director Max Ma, who is also owner of the One Nation Huaihai gym in Shanghai.

The Pandaland CrossFit Challenge will close the year in Sichuan province, qualifying its top male, female and team athletes for the 2020 Games.

“We are ready to share our love of history, culture and sport, and celebrate the growth of the Chinese CrossFit community with the rest of the world,” said CrossFit Tianfu owner and Pandaland CrossFit Challenge director Zhu Chen.

The year will kick off with the Australian CrossFit Championship in Queensland, where the competition will begin with an online qualifier that will see 32 women and men, and 16 teams, invited to the Gold Coast Convention and Entertainment Centre.

“We are looking forward to the community coming together to celebrate the CrossFit lifestyle, while watching some of the best do what they do so well in the arena,” competition director Darren Coughlan said.

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CrossFit Inc. is also bringing a newly sanctioned qualification event to Iceland, home of some of the sport’s biggest legends in two-time Games champions Katrin Davidsdottir and Annie Thorisdottir, as well as two-time bronze medallist Sara Sigmundsdottir.

The May 2019 event in Reykjavik will also have an “Rx’d” division – where workouts are scaled to competitors’ fitness levels – for the local Iceland CrossFit community.

“Physical strength has always been fundamental to survival in Iceland, a land of rough and unforgiving natural conditions,” said Thorisdottir, the Reykjavik CrossFit Championship director.

“Building on the tradition of Icelandic strongmen and women, the competition will be varied and exciting.”

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May 2019 will also see stars competing at the Down Under CrossFit Championship over three days in the Australian seaside city of Wollongong, which previously hosted Regionals.

“We will be going back to the Gong where the CrossFit community has flourished,” Championship director Mick Shaw said.

“This year, the Down Under CrossFit Championship will incorporate some of the scenic settings of Wollongong into the events to create a diverse and challenging event.”

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