All set for Spain on two fronts

Members of the Portadown-based Crossfit 8020 gym will compete this weekend in Spain.
Members of the Portadown-based Crossfit 8020 gym will compete this weekend in Spain.

Crossfit competitors from the Portadown-based 8020 gym will spend this weekend in Spain aiming to transfer club progress on to the international stage.

Coach Neil Laverty and his group stand one step away from the sport’s main event in America this summer.

A top-five finish for McQuaid or at team level would secure spots within the California finals.

Laverty has been a key figure in the rise of the sport within Northern Ireland across the past decade - with his 8020 gym only the third in the island during January 2013 but now one of over 300 facilities across Ireland.

Although crossfit remains a niche attraction at domestic level, Laverty is keen to test the ability of his squad on a global scale.

“In my gym we have probably 95 per cent connected to crossfit for general fitness reasons but others keen to challenge on a competitive level,” said Laverty. “The team of six will visit Spain thanks to a qualifying position of sixth in Europe but the highest-placed squad within the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“We go as the first team from Ireland to ever reach this stage.

“Barry Mairs, Robert Flanagan, Kathryn Fearon, PD Savage, Victoria Elliott and Laura Cullen will represent the club in the team section.

“Emma, 11th in the World rankings and fifth within Europe, has made excellent progress.

“Charlotte Spence from England is also connected to 8020 and will be on show in Spain.

“It is a massive opportunity and to reach the American finals would open up the athletes to another level of exposure.

“Everyone has worked so hard and we are really excited about the weekend.

“I am just back from a training camp in America with Emma and our members have already progressed past thousands of rivals to reach Spain so we are really relishing the challenge.”