Flora Duffy throws weight behind World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships in Bermuda
Flora Duffy is “thrilled” to have Bermuda host the inaugural World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships and says it is always a “privilege and honour” to race on home soil.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority announced at a press conference yesterday that the island will host the 2021 World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships from October 15 to 17.
“I’m thrilled to hear that Bermuda will be hosting the Sprint and Relay World Championships next year. That’s amazing news,” said Duffy, who will be among the field competing at the 2020 Valencia ITU Triathlon World Cup in Spain on Saturday.
“I love racing at home and it’s such a privilege and an honour when I get to do so and especially in a World Championship event. Even greater is that Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley will probably also be racing. So that’s pretty cool that there will be more than one Bermudian out there racing in a world-class event such as the world championships.”
The multiple-championship programme, to be staged in Hamilton, will include a brand new event— Supersprint racing for the Elite World Championships — along with the Junior World Championships, Age-Group Sprint World Championships, Mixed Relay World Championships for all categories, as well as an Open division for non-qualifiers.
“I’m sure the age-group races will absolutely love Bermuda,” Duffy added. “It’s such a fine and beautiful destination, and I think it just showcases the island beautifully to come there and to do some sport.
“The mixed team relay is a really exciting event. Two women and two men from each country race and it’s usually really thrilling and close finishes I think the crowd will love.
“I’m going to do everything I can so that Bermuda has a team competing, which again would be so amazing. Four athletes from one small island competing at home in that sort of level of event is just, like, unbelievable.
“Thank you so much to the partners and sponsors that make this event possible.”
Making the announcement at the press conference yesterday was former United States Olympian Hazel Clarke, the BTA director of sport business development and event chairwoman. She said the championships will benefit the island in various ways.
“We are excited to be able to announce these World Championships, which will help put a spotlight on our destination, highlight our sports capabilities and significantly contribute to the Bermuda economy,” she said.
The announcement follows a decision by the sport’s global governing body, World Triathlon, to split its traditional Grand Final programme for 2021, with Bermuda hosting the first Sprint and Relay World Championships — the mixed relay format having been added to the Olympic programme in Tokyo. Edmonton, Canada, and Milan, Italy, will host other aspects of the revised format next year.
“As World Triathlon, the sport’s global governing body, innovates the competition schedule, our team has secured the parts of the event best suited for the island logistically,” Glenn Jones, the BTA interim chief executive, said. “Splitting the event with other destinations has made the World Championships right-sized for Bermuda.
“Additionally, the new Supersprint racing means shorter distances for elites in a more spectator-friendly setting, delivering the exciting atmosphere we have all come to appreciate in and around the City of Hamilton. And non-elite racers who fell in love with Bermuda in 2018 and 2019 can be invited back — in what could be their first travel race since the onset of the pandemic.”
Clark noted that it has been “heartening” to witness the resilience of the local community and the island’s globally recognised management of the pandemic to date.
She said the BTA are “so proud” to have the opportunity to facilitate sports events that help drive our island’s economic recovery.
“The recent PGA Tour Bermuda Championship, the Bermuda Gold Cup and the inaugural World Tens Series rugby tournament have played out responsibly thanks to our stellar health-and-safety record,” Clark said. “This is another great example — attracting age-group and elite competitors to our community for a world-class experience on and off of the course.”
Clark said the BTA will use the championships as a means to “drive key legacy initiatives”, including youth development and triathlon programmes, community service via volunteering and education events.
“Additionally, we plan to model sustainability standards in sports events, leveraging the experience gained through this event to develop an annual signature triathlon event in Bermuda,” she added.
Bermuda hosted the 2018 and 2019 World Triathlon Series races under a three-year partnership secured by the BTA. The 2020 races was cancelled because of the pandemic, with competitors allowed to defer their registrations to the 2021 event.