The Lionhearts of Southeast Asia
WORDS BY Brian Yalung • PHOTOS by Rickwell Correa & KALIS Games Media Team
CrossFit continues to grow in popularity, normally participated in by people from different races. In the Philippines, there are some who have taken it to the next level, most of whom took part in the 2018 Kalis Games.
Sunny Conde, director for the 2018 Kalis Games, hopes that the event will help fire up the Filipino’s soul and passion for the emerging sport. Having officiated several CrossFit competitions across Asia, she hopes that these games can help raise the bar and give local athletes the needed boost to be at par with their international counterparts.
The workouts were designed by Sean Velas, a Filipino-American who resides in Miami.
Why Kalis Games?
Before the Philippines was colonized, Conde pointed out how Filipinos were competent and this is something she wants to bring back. Conde is hopeful Kalis can help show the light, an ancient weapon of the Maharlika who was an ancient warrior in the Tagalog region.
“This is why we are calling it the Kalis Games. It was one of the most feared weapons in ancient Southeast Asia. It was huge and it was a weapon of choice for these noble warriors,” Conde said.
“A weapon that size is actually empowering to the warrior. So this is not just empowerment, this is a statement for Asia and for the Philippines who want to raise the standard,” she added.
A Shot at Immortality
A large number of health buffs took part in this event as they tried to push themselves to the limit. Ranging from teens to adults, there were a number of participants who accepted the challenge and tried their hand at the different tasks such as the Assault Air Bike, Doble, Infinitas Soul Ladder and Rizal.
17-year-old Jasmine Jones quietly made her mark and was all business during her run with her family and supporters who were vividly cheering her on.
Once over, Jasmine said that she was just trying to get into the zone but was well aware that her parents were egging her on.
In the RX male division, it was Mongolian Rocky Dorjsembe and Antonio Barrias coming out on top. Both were among the athletes to watch and certainly showed why.
“I was just honored to be part of this event. The competition and the organization are really, really good,” said Dorjsembe. “I was just very excited to take part and do my best to perform the tasks,” he added.
It was practically the same case with Barrias who admitted there were events that posed as a challenge to him, singling out how running was a bit hard because of his height.
“I’m short and running has always been an issue to me. So with shorter legs, they will cost a little bit more,” explained Barrias.
One of the favorites for the 2018 Kalis Games was Kirsten Lim who admitted that it was a yearly thing for her to gauge her progress, not to mention seeing the community who want to do the sport.
“It’s a yearly thing for me to join competitions to check out if I have improved the previous years. It is also fulfilling since the community gets together and do what we all love to do,” said Lim.
Another Crossfit athlete to watch was Isabell Wolfe. She is another veteran in these kinds of events and admits embracing the challenges like other participants.
“Every day is different, every event is different. We all feel a little different. You may come to an event feeling confident about yourself but you’re never gonna know what your competition is like or what you’re going up against or how you’re gonna feel that day. So really all you can do is give your best effort every time and be confident in your abilities and your training,” Wolfe said.
More Games to Come
With the 2018 edition of the Kalis Games a resounding success, Conde hopes to further raise the bar of the Filipino athlete with annual events.
“The ultimate challenge actually is to raise the Filipino athlete, raise the Asian athlete so that we will be at par with the rest of the world. So this for us also is one way of empowering the Filipino probably Asian and anyone really. It will be an annual event,” she concluded.