A group of experts who regularly cover CrossFit were polled about their thoughts on the 2020 CrossFit Open, and two names unsurprisingly rose to the top.

In the vote among a group of almost 20 journalists, Mat Fraser garnered three quarters of the votes to take first place in the Open, which kicks off on October 10. The Open is a five-week online workout competition in which users submit videos of workouts selected by CrossFit.

The closest male competition to Fraser, 29, was fellow American Noah Ohlsen (19 per cent), who shot up to second place, stealing the lead from Fraser in dramatic fashion during the 2019 CrossFit Games, which were held in Madison, Wisconsin.

Nicholas Rizzo, a fitness research director with RunRepeat who conducted the survey, said Fraser has a couple of competitors to watch out for concerning the Open.

To no one’s surprise, Mat Fraser is expected to win the Open again. Photo: Michael Valentin

“There seem to be only two real contenders to compete with Fraser,” Rizzo said. The first is Ohlsen and the second is Iceland’s Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson.

“Gudmundsson finished right behind Noah Ohlsen at the most recent games in third place and managed to take second place at the last Open. Thirty-three per cent of the experts surveyed see him as a major competitor to fight for second place. But the real question is, are either of these two going to be dethroning Fraser?”

Fraser has won the Games the past four years in a row, and the Open the past three seasons. If he wins the Games again in 2020 he will pass Rich Froning for most consecutive titles. Froning retired from individual competitions back in 2014 and has since gone on to win the team portion of the competition four times with Mayhem Freedom.

One of the surprise picks in the survey was Hong Kong’s own Ant Haynes, who competed under the Chinese banner at the 2019 CrossFit Games as the nation’s country representative (Hong Kong and Taiwan were designated as China under CrossFit’s rules). He got 6 per cent of the vote to win the Open.

Haynes came 27th at the Games and has been consistently improving his Open score every years. Having placed 561st, 266th, and 123rd respectively over the previous three Opens. “Some experts are expecting this to be a big year for Haynes” Rizzo added.

When it comes to the women, Australia’s Tia-Clair Toomey, 26, who has yet to win the Open but has won the last three editions of the Games, is pegged to add some hardware to her award stand. Toomey garnered 44 per cent of the votes, followed by Sara Sigmundsdottir, who many think is yet to reach her full potential.

“Iceland’s number one competitor, Sigmundsdottir, is the only one with real potential to make an upset,” said Rizzo citing the results of the survey. “Since Sigmundsdottir’s explosion on to the scene and podium finishes from 2015 to 2017, she has struggled to regain her dominance. With setbacks and injuries plaguing her in 2018 and disappointment from her 20th place finish in the 2019 Games, she may be coming into the CrossFit Open with something to prove.”

There will be two CrossFit Sanctionals held in China this season. The first will be the Pandaland CrossFit Challenge (December 7-8) in Chengdu, and the second will be the second iteration of the Asia CrossFit Championship from May 8-10 in Shanghai. There will be a total of 28 Sanctionals in 21 different countries.