DUBAI // An Emirati is among the top competitors who have tried to qualify for the second annual Dubai Fitness Championship.
Saoud Saif Al Shamsi, from Dubai, completed the gruelling set of exercises in just 13 minutes 58.4 seconds.
His time is just over a minute and a half behind the first-placed competitor, Hallivard Borsheim, who finished the course in 12 minutes and 27 seconds.
Only 23 competitors have attempted the challenge since qualifying rounds began on Sunday.
"It is too early in the competition but we have a local boy laying down the challenge for the rest of the field," said Khalid Chookah, director of Dubai Fitness Championship.
"With Saoud setting up such an impressive timing, we have achieved one of the primary goals of this competition, and that is to get the UAE community involved in this contest."
Al Shamsi can go back and better his time before the qualifiers end on September 8.
The top 18 men and women will proceed to the finals of the competition, which will be held at the ice rink in Dubai Mall from September 12 to 14. The winners in five categories will each be awarded a Dh200,000 cash prize.
To qualify, entrants must race against the clock to finish a set of eight exercises.
They start off by completing 500 metres on a ski-Erg machine, which involves standing up, pulling down handles into a squat and repeating. Female competitors must complete 400 metres.
The following exercises must be repeated three times.
The first task involves jumping down from a box and lowering into a squat 20 times.
Next is 15 hand-release burpee boxes - you spring from a push-up position into a crouching position, then jump into the air before returning to push-up position.
This is followed by a jump on to a 23-inch high box, before jumping down to the other side to do another burpee.
The next exercise, known as "farmer carries", involves the contestant walking 40 metres carrying a 46-kilogram dumbbell in each hand (30kg for women).
After that you have to lift two 20kg dumbbells overhead five times (14kg for women) before completing ten 10-metre shuttle runs.
The qualifiers are being held at the Fitness First gyms in Mirdif, the Oasis Centre and Knowledge Village.
"Going from experience I think it is way too early to put anyone as the favourite," Mr Chookah said. "The rush for qualifying will be seen in the final week, when everyone will be trying to be one of 36 qualifiers making it to the finals."
You can register online at www.dxbfitness.com and entry costs Dh80.
"I am confident that this year's competition will be bigger and better," Mr Chookah said.