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Duffy hailed after enjoying glorious year

Flora Duffy clinches her second successive ITU World Triathlon Series title by winning the Grand Final in Rotterdam in September (Photograph by Wagner Araujo/ITU Media)

Flora Duffy’s groundbreaking year was hailed by Triathlete magazine, who named her Short-course Female Athlete of the Year in their Best of 2017 awards.

In addition, the American publication said the past 12 months was “The Year of Flora Duffy” and placed her dominant campaign as No 1 in their “17 News Stories That Shaped Triathlon in 2017”.

The magazine reported that the 30-year-old Bermudian “pocketed almost $300,000 in prize earnings alone — more than any other professional athlete, male or female, in the sport”.

Indeed, after finishing eighth at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016, but winning the International Triathlon Union World Series, Duffy set about this year in utterly dominant fashion.

After missing the first two races of this year’s WTS, she won six of the seven remaining events, including the Grand Final in Rotterdam in September, to take the title with a perfect score.

She finished second in the only race she lost, in Montreal in August, claiming victories in Yokohama, Leeds, Hamburg, Edmonton and Stockholm, as well as the end-of-season showpiece in the Netherlands.

Not content with a second successive WTS title, she went on to win a fourth consecutive Xterra World Championship crown in October, before rounding off her sporting year in fine, but typical style, by winning the star-studded Island House Invitational in the Bahamas last month.

And 2018 could be an even bigger year for Duffy, who married South African former Xterra pro Dan Hugo in Cape Town last week.

A Commonwealth Games gold medal is a strong possibility in the Gold Coast, Australia, on April 4 — although she will face stiff competition from the only woman to beat her last year, home favourite Ashleigh Gentle.

But the highlight is sure to be when the World Triathlon Series comes to Bermuda on April 28 and 29.

“The course being along Front Street [in Hamilton] is very special for me,” Duffy said when the event was announced. “This is where I started, in the Front Street Mile at nine years old, and I was inspired to compete internationally. To be competing as the world champion on home soil, is a feeling that’s hard to express.”

Who would bet against her enjoying another medal-filled 12 months? As Triathlete says: “Is there anything Flora Duffy can’t do?”