It’s getting technical – but Flora Duffy’s pretty much a lock for Tokyo
Flora Duffy’s quest to book her place at the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo this year could resume as early as next month.
After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, World Triathlon froze the qualification rankings for the Games in March of last year. Since then, no events that have been staged by the sport’s world governing body have counted towards those ranking places.
In December, World Triathlon agreed to not restart the qualification process before March 15 after an executive board meeting.
Consultation is set to take place this month between various committees, including continental confederations, the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee before a final decision can be made on the exact start and finish date of qualifying.
“The date for restarting the qualification for Tokyo has not been approved yet,” World l Triathlon told The Royal Gazette. “The only thing for certain at the moment is that it won’t be before March 15, but we don’t have a confirmed date as yet.“
While no confirmation has yet been made regarding the resumption of Olympic qualification, the Japanese city of Miyazaki is still scheduled to host the first World Cup event of the season on March 23 and 24.
As things stand and if the Olympic qualification process was to remain frozen, Duffy would qualify for the Games on the basis of her present ranking.
One hundred and ten participants, split evenly between men and women, are expected to compete in Tokyo with each of the eligible respective National Olympic Committees selecting their athletes who are inside the top 140 of the qualification rankings.
Duffy, Bermuda’s two-times world champion, is 27th on 3903.98 points. With no other Bermudian female athlete in the top 140, she would be the only viable option to be selected.
“A decision on the final Olympic qualification rankings has not been taken yet,” World Triathlon added. “We still have a few options on the table but we hope to announce whatever the decision is soon.
“The way the classification for the Olympics works is that spots are allocated to the national federations according to the rankings of the athletes.
“The Olympic qualification is at the moment frozen and we are still in discussion when it will be restored. However, with the rankings frozen, Flora Duffy is currently within the top-ranked athletes that guarantee their National Olympic Committee one spot in the Games.
“As the Bermuda National Olympic Committee does not currently have any other female athletes eligible due to only one athlete ranked within the top 140 being eligible, it can be expected that she will be the chosen athlete by her National Olympic Committee should she stay within the required rankings.”
While her Olympic prospects remain fairly comfortable at this point in time, Duffy will be confident of enhancing her position should Olympic qualification resume, having finished joint top in the World Triathlon women’s final rankings for last season.
Back-to-back gold medals in World Cup events in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic and Arzachena, Italy, as well as second in Hamburg, allowed Duffy to finish with a total of 1,925 points to take top spot alongside Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown.
The 33-year-old ended last year with a niggling knee injury, forcing her to withdraw from the Valencia ITU Triathlon World Cup and Professional Triathletes Organisation 2020 Middle Distance World Championships.
However, she has since recovered and returned to training in Stellenbosch in South Africa's Western Cape province.