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Crowd carries Flora to triathlon victory

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Flora takes gold on home soil at the WTS (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

It was an afternoon of dark skies, strong winds and occasional showers — typical weather for Bermuda at this time of year.

Despite the unwelcoming skies, residents and visitors flocked in their thousands along the streets of Hamilton to witness one of the biggest sporting events the island has hosted in recent times.

The 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series brought scores of the field’s top athletes to the island — including Bermudian Olympic gold medal winner Flora Duffy.

Dame Flora Duffy on the podium after winning the Bermuda World Triathlon Championship series event. Runner-up Ashley Knibb and third-place finisher Beth Potter also wave to the huge crowd.

And the island’s star athlete did not disappoint, racing across the Front Street finish line more than a minute ahead of her nearest competitor.

No doubt Duffy’s success was earned in part thanks to an enthusiastic crowd of home supporters and visiting fans who brought a carnival atmosphere to the afternoon.

“It was incredible — the crowd just pulled me through,” Dame Flora said in a post-race interview.

A big crowd on Flora Duffy Hill cheers on Dame Flora (on the left hand bike) during yesterday’s Bermuda World Triathlon Series race. At right is Maya Kingma of the Netherlands. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

She added: "I wanted to enjoy this crowd. It was really difficult for me to keep my composure. And then that last lap I just started to enjoy it, soak it in.

"I couldn't believe I actually had time to celebrate and to thank the crowd for coming out and cheering for me. It was just so incredible."

Mick Onions, a fellow triathlete who took part in the weekend’s tournament, summed up the admiration and respect that both Duffy and Bermuda are winning over in one of the toughest of sports.

He said: “Flora’s put Bermuda on the map.

“Bermuda’’s a small island but it has shown that it can put on a big event. This is my third time here and it gets better every time.”

Streets ahead: Flora Duffy on her way to victory in yesterday’s World Triathlon Championship Series race in Hamilton (Photograph by Akil Simons)

That view was echoed by resident and former May 24 Marathon Derby winner Kevin Pearson.

Cheering on the athletes as they sped down Queen Street, Mr Pearson, 57, from Paget, said: “It’s just wonderful — amazing — that Bermuda can actually put on an event of this scale.

“And Flora Duffy is amazing too — a world-class athlete. We should be proud of her.”

Wilson McTaggart, from Ayr in south.west Scotland, was here to cheer on fellow Scots athletes Beth Potter and Grant Sheldon.

“Just a fantastic venue and a fantastic event, ” Mr McTaggart said. “It’s the reason we’ve come to Bermuda. It’s one of those events that brings people here. ”

DJ Peppy, 55, from Southampton, said: “It’s great to see Flora competing on home soil. It’s phenomenal that we’re putting on an event like this.”

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Published November 07, 2022 at 8:53 am (Updated November 07, 2022 at 8:53 am)

Crowd carries Flora to triathlon victory

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