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Triathletes in the running for top awards

Bermuda triathlete Tyler Butterfield

Flora Duffy is a firm favourite to retain her Female Athlete of the Year title at the 38th annual Sports Awards host by the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation at the Fairmont Southampton tonight.

The triathlete won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast last April in before storming to victory in the MS Amlin Triathlete Bermuda a few weeks later.

Another triathlete, Tyler Butterfield, could be among the contenders for the Male Athlete of the Year award.

Like Duffy, Butterfield has won the award for the past four years. He was also a member of Bermuda’s triathlon mixed relay team, which included Duffy, Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley.

Butterfield battled through the pain barrier to set a national record in the marathon after finishing twelfth in a time of 2hr 26min 29sec to beat Raymond Swan’s 36-year-old Bermudian record of 2:26:37.

In July, Butterfield placed seventh in the Ironman European Championships in Frankfurt despite a back injury, before improving with second-place finishes in the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific in the Philippines in August and the Ironman 70.3 Cozumel in October.

Long jumper Tyrone Smith and middle-distance runner Dage Minors also had some strong performances overseas last year.

Tyrone Smith started the year with a third-place finish in the long jump at the Canadian Indoor Championships in Montreal.

Smith’s podium finish followed on the heels of his triumph at the Houston Invitational last January, which he won despite suffering a cramp in his leg. Smith then finished eleventh out of 15 jumpers after failing to reach the final at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England last March.

Smith was then named as the flag bearer for Bermuda at the Commonwealth Games where he placed tenth. He had a season-best leap of 7.94 metres at the Stockholm Diamond League in June when, in his first Diamond League meet for two years, he finished eighth.

Smith won a silver medal in the long jump at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia in August with a best leap of 8.03 metres. Two weeks later he finished fourth at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships in Toronto with a jump of 7.98 metres.

Minors started his year in spectacular fashion, coming first in the KPMG Front Street Elite Mile, the first Bermudian to win the elite race.

Minors also claimed victory in the 1,500 metres at the Silfen Invitational Track Meet at Connecticut College last April. He finished tenth in the 800 metres in the CAC Games in Toronto and returned home to win the National Cross Country Championships at Clearwater Beach last December.

The theme for tonight’s awards is “Immortal: Monumental Figures in Bermuda Sports”. The awards start at 7pm.