• John Yeong

Beyond Grit: Grit Games 2020

Organised by local gym Grit Yard for the second year running, the Grit Games was a test of endurance and iron will as 19 pairs of athletes competed for bragging rights to be called champions of grit.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Tay / Grit Yard


If you think completing a simple task of 5 sets of exercises is easy enough, you have never been to Grit Yard.

Grit Games 2020 kicked off its qualifying round with five simple qualifier exercises:


1. Plate to Ground Overhead

2. Explosive Push-ups

3. Reverse Burpees

4. Figure 8

5. Burpees

Photo Credit: Cheryl Tay / Grit Yard

This year, athletes were allowed to team up in pairs (either mixed, male, or female). There were some slight differences though - male athletes were required to do 10 more of each set of exercises (with organisers justifying that males generally have stronger upper body strength than females).


Each team needed to complete each set of exercises (e.g. 120 Plate to Ground Overheads each), before moving on to the next set of exercises; and the top 16 pairs with the fastest timing would make it into the next round.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Tay / Grit Yard


There was also a catch, those who needed additional assistance (for example: holding a plate for the reverse burpee, would receive an additional 30 sec penalty to their overall timing).

If you think completing the simple task of five exercises is easy enough, you have obviously never been to Grit Yard.

It was probably the first time in my life where I witnessed some athletes not wanting to qualify for the next round, which would see them go through another round of torture of equal or higher scale.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Tay / Grit Yard


A test of mental endurance


Having completed the qualifiers, the round of 16 comprised a very similar set of exercises with some slight modifications - this turned out to be a real test of mental fortitude for most participants who have survived to this point.


The range of pairs who qualified for the round of 16 varied: with the fastest coming in at 14 minutes and the last pair coming in just past the 22 minute mark.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Tay / Grit Yard


The 8 pairs who made it through had to contend with another crazy set of exercises: 1. Shoulder Press (100 reps)

2. Knee Jump into Standing Broad Jump (6o reps)

3. Overhead Sit-ups (60 reps)

4. Trident (40 reps)

Photo Credit: Cheryl Tay / Grit Yard


Thereafter fatigue became apparent as the Games entered its final 4, with each round seeing more and more participants falling out by the way side. It all boiled down to three mixed pairs and an all female pair in the final:


Joy Kuan & Terence Chua (mixed)

Natalie Ng & Rachel Ng (female)

Edwin Ong & Loo Zi Jia (mixed)

Brian Lee & Alanna Lim (mixed)

Photo Credit: Cheryl Tay / Grit Yard


The eight had to contend with deadlifts of 75kg (male) and 50kg (female) combined with box jumps in final round, from which Grit Yard favourites Edwin Ong and Loo Zi Jia emerged victorious as champions of this year's Games.


The Games may have had to take on a different form this year due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, but it was nevertheless an exhilarating fest of grit: from clenching teeth to sweat and tears from start to finish.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Tay / Grit Yard


While my participation in the event with Kerstin Ong was cut short with us being eliminated early on; it was still a sight to behold and an incredible feeling to see fellow friends of the yard giving their best - an experience that has been sorely missing in 2020, with limited capacity and cancelled events painting much of this year's narrative.


Looking forward to better times in 2021 with Grit Yard!

Photo Credit: Cheryl Tay / Grit Yard

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