Ireland has one of the top female athletes in the world in the growing sport of CrossFit who has high hopes of breaking into its global top 10 in 2020.
Emma McQuaid (29), a personal trainer from Newry who also finished fourth in 63kg weightlifting at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, had never heard of CrossFit before she saw a class in an American gym in 2013.
But she has made remarkably quick progress in the competitive end of the sport that combines dynamic strength and fitness tests with endurance sports like cycling, swimming and paddle-boarding.
When McQaid first entered the international CrossFit Open — the sport’s world-wide ranking tournament that athletes can enter by video straight from their own gym— she finished in the mid-3000s.
Within a year she had climbed to 34th in the world and last summer she finished 20th in the sport’s World Games in Wisconsin.
Now she has high hopes of breaking into the world’s top 10 after finishing seventh in the most recent international Cross-Fit Open rankings in October.
“A lot of people don’t know about CrossFit because it’s not advertised in regular gyms and we don’t see it on TV either but, as a sport it’s already huge and going to get even bigger”said McQuaid at the launch of Trinity College’s new CrossFit collaboration with Chapter 2 Fitness.
There’s already huge numbers of people doing CrossFit in gyms for their general health and well-being and it’s so adaptable that your mum, sister, granny or grandad can do it.
“But I’m a very competitive person and I love that element of it. CrossFit is not just about lifting weights, there is a whole sport and a lot of technique involved and I love that it always challenges you.”
In Ireland Crossfit first emerged in the new generation of no-frills power-lifting gyms that sprang up in vacant industrial units during the recession but for Trinity Sport to provide classes to its students and public members underlines how quickly it has moved into the mainstream.