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Triathletes clean up at Government Awards

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Tyler Butterfield repeated as Male Athlete of the Year while Flora Duffy won a fourth women's title as triathletes dominated the leading awards at the 34th annual Government Sports Awards on Saturday night at The Fairmont Southampton.

Tyler Smith was the third triathlete to land a top award when the 16-year-old was crowned Junior Male Athlete of the Year, while Kyrah Scraders, 17, was named the Junior Female Athlete of the Year for the third successive time.

Both Butterfield and Duffy are abroad training for competition, the former in Boulder, Colorado, and Duffy in South Africa. Parents Debbie Butterfield and Charles Duffy received the awards on their behalf.

“Maybe we should give a glimpse of the inner Flora by reading out a message she sent to the Youth Olympics team [last year]: ‘Embrace each and every experience, for a mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. I'm cheering for you, Bermuda is cheering for you, so go on, thrive in the moment, race fast and enjoy the details'.”

Duffy added: “If you listen to any of Flora's interviews, and she does quite a lot, you know that she boosts Bermuda at every opportunity she gets. She's very proud of Bermuda and proud to be a Bermudian, and she'll be very touched and proud and grateful for the recognition she's received tonight.

“She trains a ridiculous amount by anybody's standards and I know Flora has travelled awful long distances by herself to these races and is competing with teams from the USA, Britain and Germany and they have people with them, but Flora just goes along with no coach or anything and just turns up and competes. You have to be tough to do that.”

“She's still based in Boulder, although her boyfriend is South African so that's part of the attraction of South Africa as well as the fact that their summer is Boulder's winter which is not good for training, obviously.”

Butterfield also opted for a warmer climate during the winter and is now back in Boulder after spending some time in Australia. “We're very proud of him, he works very hard,” said mom Debbie, a former top Bermuda runner. “He's a professional now and this is his job, he works all day, whether it be swim run or ride and works very hard for his living. And if he doesn't do well or finish the race, there is no paycheck there.

“He's very appreciative for all those who sponsor him, especially Tokio Millennium and others who, along with the Bermuda Triathlon Association and the Bermuda Olympic Association, help him get to these events where we are there with all the other countries in the world. Tyler just loves representing Bermuda and flying the flag and so wants to get to Kona [Ironman World Championships] in October. He has to do half Ironmans and Ironman events in order to do that.”

Tyler Smith is another triathlete following in a parent's footsteps, winning the junior male award on the same night that his mother, Karen, was given an Appreciation Award for her achievements last year, which included a first-place finish in her age group at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in October.

She also won the Ironman Los Cabos in Mexico last March before winning the National Triathlon Championships in Bermuda in May.

Tyler placed nineteenth at last year's Youth Olympic Games in China and then placed second in the time-trial and road race at the Caribbean Junior Cycling Championships in October in Suriname.

“A little bit of surprise and a whole lot of pride night now, I'm just very grateful to get this award,” he said. “I was happy to accept the award for mom tonight as well.

“I'm very thankful to the Ministry of Sport and all the organisations that supported me, the Bermuda Triathlon Association who I think are one of the best sporting organisations in Bermuda.

“I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to compete overseas and locally and trying to represent Bermuda as best I can in the future. I watched Flora in Abu Dhabi and as a Bermudian and triathlete just watching that race was incredible. Even though Tyler has moved on to Ironman now, what he's done in Olympic-distance racing is also incredible.”

Scraders made it three junior female titles in a row, just less than two weeks before she represents Bermuda again at the Carifta Games in St Kitts where she will lead the chase for medals. “I'm just happy to win it a third time, I was up against two great athletes [Cecilia Wollmann and Ashley Irby] and I'm just happy to come out with the win,” Scraders said.

“I don't worry about pressure because if I worry about it, then I won't run how I want to run. I just want to run a good race.”

Other award winners were LeiLanni Nesbeth and Christian Burgess (cricket) and Ebonie Burgess and Damon Ming (football) who won the Sports Minister's Awards for the two national sports, while swimmer Roy-Allan Burch, triathlete Karen Smith, martial artists Sentwali Woolridge and Reyel Bowen, and cricketer Christian Burgess received achievement awards.

Jesse Washington, Kyle Webb and Wollmann were recipients of Junior Achievement awards while Cal Blankendal and the late Colin Clarke received Special Achievement Awards for their contributions to football and sailing. Clarke, a long-time comet sailor, died in December at the age of 79.

Stanford Bean (football), Anthony Bailey (optimist dinghy sailing) and former cricketer Allen Richardson received Citation Awards along with PHC for their football programme and the 2012 Carifta Games Committee which organised the Games in Bermuda.

Appreciation Awards went to XL Foundation and Belco for their sponsorship of cricket and Aspen for tennis.

• For the sports minister's full remarks, click on the PDF file under “Related Media”.

Debbie Butterfield, a former top runner in her own right, accepts the Male Athlete of the Year Award on behalf of son Tyler Butterfield (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Charles Duffy accepts the Female Athlete of the Year Award on behalf of daughter Flora Duffy (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Tyler Smith, left, and Kyrah Scraders were named Junior Male Athlete of the Year and Junior Female Athlete of the Year respectively (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
<p>ROLL CALL</p>


Minister’s National Sports Awards

LeiLanni Nesbeth (cricket)

Christian Burgess (cricket)

Ebonie Burgess (football)

Damon Ming (football)

Junior Achievement Awards

Tyler Smith (triathlon)

Kyrah Scraders (athletics)

Jesse Washington (swimming)

Kyle Webb (athletics)

Cecilia Wollmann (sailing)

Achievement Awards

Tyler Butterfield (triathlon)

Flora Duffy (triathlon)

Roy-Allan Burch (swimming)

Karen Smith (triathlon)

Sentwali Woolridge (martial arts)

Reyel Bowen (martial arts)

Christian Burgess (cricket)

Appreciation Awards

XL Foundation (youth cricket)

Belco (cricket)

Aspen (tennis)

Special Achievement Awards

Cal Blankendal (football)

Colin Clarke (sailing)

Citation Awards

Pembroke Hamilton Club

2012 Carifta Games Committee

Stanford Bean (football)

Anthony Bailey (sailing)

Allen Richardson (cricket)

Athletes of the Year

Junior Female

Kyrah Scraders (athletics)

Junior Male

Tyler Smith (triathlon)

Adult Male

Tyler Butterfield (triathlon)

Adult Female

Flora Duffy (triathlon)

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Published March 22, 2015 at 12:39 am (Updated March 22, 2015 at 4:25 pm)

Triathletes clean up at Government Awards

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