Duffy elated to qualify for worlds
Flora Duffy took to social media to express her delight after “punching her ticket” to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships after winning her debut event in Buffalo City, South Africa, at the weekend.
The Bermudian qualified for the world championships in spectacular fashion as she came from behind to win the Ironman 70.3 South Africa in a time of 4hr 34min 5sec.
“Did my first @IRONMANtri 70.3 yesterday,” Duffy wrote on Twitter. “In the last 45km my left glute really locked up and was unable to push any power (I lost 9mins!). So glad I was able to recompose myself and run for the win. Learnt a lot & so happy to punch my ticket to worlds.”
Duffy seized early control after exiting the water in first place at Orient Beach with a more than three-minute advantage over the chasing pack, which she increased by four seconds by the halfway stage of the bike.
However, her gluteus muscle then tightened up and she slipped to third on the return leg of the 56-mile bike.
Duffy trailed leader Emma Pallant, of Britain, by several minutes at the second transition before the 13.1-mile run but mounted a fightback and ultimately regained the lead for good with 3.1 miles of the race remaining.
Pallant finished second at the event for the third straight year and South Africa's Jade Nicole third to round off the women's podium. The Ironman 70.3 World Championships will be held in Taupo, New Zealand on November 28 and 29.
As well as the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Duffy will hope to become the first Bermudian to win an Olympic medal, in Tokyo this summer, since boxer Clarence Hill claimed bronze at the Montreal Games in 1976.
The 33-year-old spent the majority of last year nursing a long-term injury, but made a successful comeback from her foot issue, performing strongly in the four races in which she competed.
She made her long-awaited return from injury at the Tokyo Olympic Test Event in August, winning in controversial fashion after British leaders Jessica Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown were disqualified for causing a deliberate tie.
The Bermudian followed that up with a solid performance at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland, finishing fifth, before winning the Banyoles ITU World Cup in the north of Spain and the Beijing International Triathlon.
She then became the first triathlete to win a fifth Xterra World Championship title after reclaiming her crown in Kapalua, Hawaii.