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Determined Flora Duffy ready to defend Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham

The world has found itself on a rollercoaster ride since the last edition of the Commonwealth Games, and the same could be said for the great Flora Duffy’s triathlon career.

Champion on Australia’s Gold Coast back in 2018, the Bermudian then suffered an injury that would put her out of contention for both the 2018 and 2019 world titles, before returning with Olympic dreams only to have them put on ice by the pandemic. Duffy then delivered a 2021 for the ages by scooping the Olympic and world titles, and now she hits Birmingham as the world number two, back in sizzling form.

The stage is set for another classic Commonwealth Games battle as triathlon makes its fifth appearance on the schedule across a sprint distance course that starts and ends in Sutton Park either side of a fast, technical through transition 20km bike. The rivalries are fierce and Friday afternoon’s action will be relentless, and don’t miss Sunday’s Mixed Relay and PTVI Para Triathlon action, the official where-to-watch information will be available here shortly.

—The first Bermudian ever to win an Olympic gold, Flora Duffy’s place in the history books of her home island is already secured, but being the first triathlete to successfully defend their Commonwealth Games title would certainly warrant an extra chapter. It was another great Emma Snowsill who won in Melbourne back in 2006, and as Duffy looks to surpass the Australian’s record three world titles this year, another Commonwealth crown would further underline her credentials as the greatest the sport has ever seen.

She will have the current number one Georgia Taylor-Brown to contend with, though, as well as a partisan crowd getting behind the home-nation athletes. Taylor-Brown finished second behind Duffy in Tokyo and again at last year’s WTCS Abu Dhabi, but since then, victory in Yokohama and silvers in Leeds and Montreal have put the Brit in pole position in the world title chase, and her current form will make her a hot favourite again in Birmingham.

Teammate Sophie Coldwell has also been putting together some exceptional swim-bike-run form, and after hitting back-to-back WTCS podiums in Leeds she will love being back in front of the home crowds and can be explosive over the sprint distance.

Scotland’s Beth Potter hit her first WTCS podium in Hamburg and will relish another shot at a Commonwealth Games medal – four years ago she became the first Scot to compete at the Games in different events, grabbing 12th in triathlon having previously finished fifth in the 10,000m back on home soil at Glasgow 2014, and her star has been in the ascension ever since.

Nobody on the start list has more Commonwealth Games experience Andrea Hansen (formerly Hewitt), who was third back in Melbourne 2006, fourth in Glasgow and 13th on the Gold Coast, and she is joined by fellow New Zealanders Nicole Van der Kaay and Ainsley Thorpe in the quest for medals. 

The 2013 World Champion Non Stanford makes her return to the blue carpet for the first time since her top 10 finish at last year’s WTCS Abu Dhabi, representing Wales alongside Olivia Mathias and Issy Morris.

A strong Canadian trio of Dominika Jamnicky, the returning Amelie Kretz and Emy Legault will be looking to make a splash in both the individual and Mixed Relay, while Australia’s Natalie Van Coevorden, Charlotte McShane and Sophie Linn all have the potential to deliver eye-catching performances.

India’s Pragnya Mohan is among the names representing the emerging triathlon nations, as athletes from the likes of Mauritius, Namibia, Kenya and Trinidad and Tobago will also be ready to relish their moment in the spotlight against some of the biggest names in the sport.

(07/27/2022) Views: 92 ⚡AMP
by Doug Gray
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The Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games

One of the youngest cities in Europe, Birmingham is vibrant and richly diverse. It is well known for always offering a warm welcome to visitors from around the world. The Birming ham 2022 Commonwealth Games will demonstrate the very best of Global Britain to the world, showcasing the region’s strengths of: being connected and accessible; youth and...

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Flora Duffy delivers a golden first for Bermuda, winning the olympic women triathlon

Flora Duffy claimed a first ever Olympic Games gold medal for Bermuda with a brilliant display to win the women’s triathlon at Tokyo 2020.

The 33-year-old, world champion 2016 and 2017, was virtually faultless as she negotiated treacherous conditions in the swim and on the bike before making a decisive move to clinch victory on the run.

Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown saw her hopes of gold ruined by a flat rear tyre late in the bike leg, but fought back brilliantly to pip American Katie Zaferes to silver. The American claimed the bronze.

The conditions in Tokyo were vastly different from Monday’s men’s race – then it was brutal heat and humidity, now it was torrential rain which caused a 15-minute delay to the scheduled start.

Britain’s Jess Learmonth went out hard on the swim and led the field out of the water at the end of the first lap, just ahead of Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes. Americans Zaferes and Summer Rappaport were also in close attendance with Duffy and Learmonth’s Britain team-mate Taylor-Brown.

A lead group of seven exited for T1 with Learmonth (18:24) still in front and Zaferes, Rappaport, Duffy and Taylor-Brown all in very close attendance. The third British athlete Vicky Holland meanwhile was in the second group, just under 50 seconds off the pace.

The field was already well strung out as they headed for their bikes, such was the pace that Learmonth had injected.

Bike – small but select

Learmonth led that select lead pack through the early stages of the bike leg, but by the end of the first lap she’d been joined at the front by Taylor-Brown and Duffy. Rappaport meanwhile was clinging desperately onto the back of the group. The chasing pack were more than a minute off the pace, with 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Spirig leading them in typical style.

The second lap saw the status quo maintained, with Duffy leading the lead group through along with Zaferes, Taylor-Brown and Learmonth. Rappaport was still struggling to maintain her position at the back of that group. The gap to the chasing pack led by Spirig was still more than a minute.

Seven became six in the lead group by the end of Lap 3 as Rappaport fell away to cross the line 37 seconds off the pace. Up front it was still the big guns Taylor-Brown, Learmonth, Duffy and Zaferes leading the way. They were in company with Germany’s Laura Lindemann and the Brazilian Lopes.

Run – decisive from Duffy

Zaferes, Lindemann, Duffy and Learmonth set off on the 10k run knowing they were in prime position to fight it out for the medals, while Taylor-Brown tried desperately to get back on terms.

Duffy made the first decisive move on the opening lap of four on the run, surging clear of Zaferes. Taylor-Brown meanwhile was making progress as she picked off team-mate Learmonth and Lindemann to move back into a medal position. At the end of that first lap Flora was 17 seconds clear of Zaferes with Taylor-Brown a further nine seconds away.

Flora, looking imperious out in front, pulled further clear on the second lap and at halfway on the run her advantage was now 47 seconds over Zaferes. Taylor-Brown meanwhile was just five seconds down on the American in the battle for silver.

The dominant Duffy increased her lead to 67 seconds on the third of the four run laps, while Taylor-Brown passed Zaferes to move into second just as the pair reached the bell.

Flora was still full of running as she powered through the final lap to come home to a famous victory in a winning time of 1:55:36. She was 74 seconds clear of silver medallist Taylor-Brown, while Zaferes was a further 13 seconds away in the bronze medal position.

(07/27/2021) Views: 487 ⚡AMP
by Graham Shaw
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