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Great expectations the same for Duffy

Duffy hopes to defend her world title this season

Flora Duffy has a busy year ahead of her.

The Bermuda triathlete will defend her Xterra World Championship title, while also trying to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Duffy is back in training at her home in Stellenbosch in South Africa after taking a break in November, and said that she was working hard with her race season fast approaching.

First up is the Xterra Philippines, followed by a small International Triathlon Union race in Cape Town, and the Xterra South Africa race which she finished second in last year. Of the two disciplines, Duffy will focus her energies on the ITU races for the first part of the year as she looks to accumulate enough points to qualify for the Rio Games.

“I will be racing a mix of ITU and Xterra but will primarily be training specifically for ITU,” Duffy said. “I also want to defend my Xterra world title.

“Luckily the ITU season wraps up at the end of September which leaves me over a month to specifically prepare for [the Xterra World Championships in] Maui.

“I did a few ITU races last year, but need to do more this year in order to gain Olympic qualification points.”

Duffy said that while her win in Maui had been a huge moment for her and had changed her profile within the sport, it had not changed the expectations she placed on herself.

“Winning has elevated my profile within triathlon thus making me more appealing to sponsors, which is always nice,” Duffy said.

“As far as evaluating how to go forward, it did not really change that too much, I will still race and do my best.”

There are benefits though, Xterra race organisers now call Duffy asking her to take part in their events, something she admitted was “pretty cool”.

With one sponsorship deal already signed with Osmo Nutrition, a hydration product, there is another in the pipeline with a company in Bermuda.

“I won the Xterra world title using Osmo so it was a natural fit for me to partner with them,” she said. “It is a product I use every day, so to have their support is huge.”

Duffy is still getting used to her new found fame, which was brought home to her when she came back to Bermuda after winning in Maui.

“The reception I received [in Bermuda] was amazing,” Duffy said. “I could not believe the amount of people who took an interest in my career.

“It was very surreal and cool at the same time. I hope to continue doing Bermuda proud.”