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Ayrton Risby: One of the Fittest Teens You’ll Ever Meet



The fittest people in the world compete against one another every year at an event called the CrossFit Games. Competitors are put through the toughest tests of strength and endurance to see who is the fittest of them all.

CrossFit is a form of high-intensity interval training that involves varied functional movements, strength and endurance. Those who are serious about the sport have one goal: to get to the CrossFit Games in America and be crowned the Fittest on Earth.

Imagine being 15 years old and fit enough to be invited to compete. Well, Hunter Valley born and bred Ayrton Risby is.

Ant, as he’s known, started CrossFit in 2016 when he was just 10 years old at Muswellbrook.

“I saw Dad get into bodybuilding and then he did CrossFit, and both my sisters were attending classes as well and one day Dad asked Nat [the coach] if I was allowed to do a class because I wanted to do it. She said go home, get your joggers and have a go at it.”

Little did Ant know it then, but that moment was the start of a journey that would see him be invited overseas to compete and represent Australia in weightlifting competitions.

In 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ant scored well enough in the qualifying events here to be accepted to compete at the CrossFit Games in Wisconsin US.

“Through the open and age group online qualifiers, I placed 16th in the world. The top 20 in the world go to the CrossFit games in America so I was in the 14-15 age group and qualified to go and represent Australia.

“The plan didn’t work out well…”

Travelling overseas was very difficult around the time Ant qualified. You could only travel to compete in a sport competitively if it was deemed so by the Federal Government, and Ant wasn’t old enough to get all of the COVID vaccines you needed to travel overseas. So, unfortunately, he had to decline.

The pandemic came to an end and slowly Ant’s goals started to change. He moved to Queensland with his family at the end of 2022 so he could train with the Australian Olympic weightlifting coach Miles Wydall.

“Within the time I’ve been with him, I’ve done a few comps. Last December I qualified to go over to India for the Commonwealth senior, junior, youth and under 23 championships to represent Australia and then the Cook Islands for the Oceania championships.”

“I’ve broken three Queensland records, as well. In the male 73-weight class for youth, I broke the snatch, clean and jerk and total records.”

Ant completed a 97kg snatch, 125kg clean and jerk for a total of 222kg.

“When I first started I didn’t think it was going to lead to all of this. Definitely, the goals have changed now and the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane is definitely something I want, to represent the country in my hometown.

“Obviously I’d like to make the games again, do a few more comps and would like to go over to Wodapalooza in Miami at the end of the year.”

It’s no easy feat for Ant to achieve all of his goals. Now, as a 17-year-old doing year 11, Ant has to juggle his last two years of school, training with Miles at Cougars Weightlifting Club and CrossFit training with Moses Petelo at CrossFit EXF, start an apprenticeship in carpentry and keep a close eye on his diet.

Ant sees a dietician frequently to help him with all of his meals and works with ATP Science for everything he needs to get him through training.

Before heading to India and the Cook Islands, Ant is right now getting ready to compete in the age qualifier for the CrossFit Games.

“I’m doing a lot better than last year. This time last year I had COVID, but in the open rankings I am doing a lot better.”

He might only be 17, but Ant has completed some gnarly workouts so we had to ask which one was the worst. He said it was a workout called Murph (for those not in the know, Murph is a 1-mile run, 100 push-ups, 200 pull-ups, 300 air squats and another 1-mile run – horrid).

“It probably took me an hour because I spewed, it was not good! That was when we were in LA in 2019 at Reebok CrossFit LA.

“I haven’t done it since, I’m too scared!”

Ant said his favourite lift is the snatch. He recently did it with 100kg on the bar, but by the end of the year, he wants to hit 110kg.

“I’m just having fun I guess, you have to enjoy the process.”

Because the moment you stop having fun, what’s the point?

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