Duffy out of South Africa Xterra event
Flora Duffy’s phenomenal winning streak at the Xterra South African Championships came to a halt yesterday after she confirmed that she is not defending her title this year.
The Bermudian triathlete and multiple world champion had been a firm favourite to retain her title prior to her announcement, which she made on Twitter.
“I’m not racing this year, but wishing everyone the best of luck,” Duffy tweeted.
The Xterra South African Championships take place today in Grabouw.
Duffy romped to her fourth straight women’s title at last year’s event to get her 2017 season off to a flying start.
But it came at a price as she was forced to withdraw from the season-opening ITU World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi a week later because of a nagging hip injury.
Despite missing the first two races of last year’s WTS, Duffy won six of the seven remaining events to retain her ITU world title. She also won a fourth consecutive Xterra World Championship crown as well as the Island House Invitational in the Bahamas to reinforce her status as a world-class athlete.
Duffy, who pocketed nearly $300,000 in prize earnings alone last year, will start the defence of her ITU world title in Abu Dhabi next Saturday.
The Bermudian will be joined in Abu Dhabi by Ashleigh Gentle, of Australia, and American Katie Zaferes, comprising the full podium of last season’s world series. However, last year’s winner in Abu Dhabi, Andrea Hewitt, of New Zealand, is hopeful she can retain a season-opening crown she won in 2017 by pipping Britain’s Jodie Stimpson to the finish line.
“I’m delighted to be returning to Abu Dhabi this year, a place that holds some amazing memories for me following my first-place finish last year,” Hewitt told the WTS website. “The 2017 race was a turning point for me both personally and professionally. I had trained so hard, went into the race in good form and knew that I had a chance of doing well.
“To pick up the gold medal, the way I did, it was an overwhelming sense of emotion. I think that showed at the finish line. I’m looking forward to seeing what this year’s race holds and with a bit of luck, I’ll be on the podium again”.
Duffy is also scheduled to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in the triathlon and mountain bike events in April and the MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda on April 28 and 29, where the former Warwick Academy student will race in front of her home fans for the first time as world champion.
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