Fit Ruan packs bags for CrossFit’s big party


On Sunday afternoon at the Emerald casino in Vanderbijlpark, Ruan Potgieter held the two heavy dumbbells (more than 40 kg each) just a little longer than necessary.

However, this gesture was anything but arrogant. Aikôna, it was rather a celebration of nine years of hard work. Because Potgieter qualified for August’s big CrossFit party in Texas with his triumph in the Renegade Games.

“It means an incredible amount to me; it is a dream come true. You can actually tick me off with a feather,” he said in an interview with RNews.

To quickly put things into perspective: You stand a much greater chance of winning a giant chain store’s lucky draw than qualifying for the CrossFit Games.

From all of Africa, only one man (Potgieter), one woman (Gemma Rader) and one team (CrossFit Tiger Valley Relentless) will represent the continent in the USA.

“It took a lot of hours in the gym, a lot of hours outside the gym, a lot of sweat, a lot of tears and a lot of tries. Now I finally get my chance.”

South African athletes usually struggle – Jason Smith did finish the 2017 Games in tenth place – to hold a candle to the fit stars from the USA and Europe.

Money and sponsors are some of the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of a local fitness enthusiast.

Overseas, athletes are paid to train full time. Here in South Africa, most CrossFitters have a job to keep the pot boiling.

Potgieter is, among other things, a trainer, while he also dreams of opening his own gym one day.

However, do not think that he will travel to the USA to be just another number from Africa to complete the Games attendance record.

“I worked very hard to get where I am. I want to be competitive and at the same time prove to everyone that there are also good athletes in Africa.”

That’s why it’s shoulder to wheel for the next two months in the run-up to the Games.

In June, his weight lifting prowess will be honed so that he competes with the Americans on a more equal footing in this division. In the archery, his fitness will be worked on for the last time.

When it comes to gymnastic moves, he doesn’t have to back down to anyone.

After all, a few years ago he counted among the top ten participants after the first practice session of the 2021 Open.

In 21.1, as it is known, participants had to climb backwards up a wall from a push-up position (wall walks) while the jump rope (double unders) also received attention.

And Potgieter pretty much blew you away.

Now he hopes to deliver a similar – and more consistent – performance at the Games.

“I would very much like to finish the Games among the top ten participants and I will work very hard to stand on the podium one day. This is not something I take lightly; I believe in myself and in my coach.”

  • The Games will be held from August 8 to 11 at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Results of the Renegade Games:


  1. Ruan Potgieter 558 points
  2. Josh Kernot: 498 points
  3. Darren Zurnamer: 483 points
  4. Ruan Duvenage: 474 points
  5. Kealan Henry: 471 points


  1. Gemma Rader: 561 points
  2. Christina Livaditakis (Zimbabwe): 555 points
  3. Gilmari Reyneke: 534 points
  4. Tanha Bouffe: 492 points
  5. Leeverne Engelbrecht: 423 points


  1. CrossFit Tiger Valley Relentless: 492
  2. CrossFit Humble Hungry Driven Team Quest Tigerfit: 488 points
  3. Pack Life CrossFit Wanderers: 452 points
  4. CrossFit Juggernaut Conquer: 436 points
  5. CrossFit Unboxed Elite: 348 points