The 2020 edition of the CrossFit Games is adopting a new format due to coronavirus. The competition will be split into two rounds with the first taking place from September 17 to 19.

There are 30 men and 30 women taking part, selected as the top 20 from the Open and the 10 winners of sanctional events this year. All competitors will compete from their home gyms simultaneously, and then the top five men and top five women will progress to an in-person final, which will be held in California from October 19 to 25.

What time does it start?

This week, the pre-competition coverage starts at 3.30pm (Pacific Time) on Thursday (11.30pm BST/6.30am, Friday Hong Kong time). The workouts start at 12pm US Pacific Time on Friday, and the second block on day two starts at 3pm. The final day starts at 12pm on Saturday with the last block starting at 3pm.

How can I keep up with the action?

There will be live YouTube, Facebook and Instagram feeds for fans to follow on the Games’ official accounts, which you will be able to watch on scmp.com. But, it will not show the workouts. Rather, two presenters – Niki Brazier and Sean Woodland – will keep spectators updated. Footage of the workouts will be shared later.

The workouts will be announced shortly before each round. It has become tradition that the organisers keep the workouts secret until the last minute, but the athletes have been told to have the following on hand: barbells at 35lb. (15kg) and 45lb. (20kg), standard bumper plates (18-inch in diameter), prepare for a max lift using Olympic bumper plates, change plates (1lb. minimum), barbell collars, pull-up bar, squat rack, GHD machine, a running route with one turnaround (maximum of 300 metres out and 300 metres back), a Concept2 Model D rowing machine, a skipping rope and a wall for handstand push-ups.

Ones to watch

The level of competition is high as always but its hard to look past the defending champions. Mat Fraser is going for his fifth CrossFit Games win, which would be a record. He finished second in the Open this season, showing that he is still in fine fettle and will be the one to beat.

Last year, Fraser was deducted points because he dropped a weight from his rucksack during a weighted run. Clawing back the points round by round, he did not get back into first place until the final event. In his absence, eventual second-place finisher Noah Ohlsen was on top. Can Ohlsen go one better and knock off the king this year?

Tia-Clair Toomey has won three consecutive Games. It’s already a record and one she will be looking to extend to four. She had the victory in hand with time to spare last year. Everyone else was fighting for second. It is hard to see anyone challenging her.

Sara Sigmundsdottir, a crowd favourite, has been going from strength to strength in the sanctional events this season. She lost to Toomey this year, but if her upwards trajectory and masses of experience at the Games pay off, it could be a shock upset.