Determined Duffy ready to defend Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham
The world has found itself on a rollercoaster ride since the last edition of the Commonwealth Games, and the same could be said for the great Flora Duffy’s triathlon career.
Champion on Australia’s Gold Coast back in 2018, the Bermudian then suffered an injury that would put her out of contention for both the 2018 and 2019 world titles, before returning with Olympic dreams only to have them put on ice by the pandemic. Duffy then delivered a 2021 for the ages by scooping the Olympic and world titles, and now she hits Birmingham as the world number two, back in sizzling form.
The stage is set for another classic Commonwealth Games battle as triathlon makes its fifth appearance on the schedule across a sprint distance course that starts and ends in Sutton Park either side of a fast, technical through transition 20km bike. The rivalries are fierce and Friday afternoon’s action will be relentless, and don’t miss Sunday’s Mixed Relay and PTVI Para Triathlon action - for information on where to watch, click here.
The first Bermudian ever to win an Olympic gold, Flora Duffy’s place in the history books of her home island is already secured, but being the first triathlete to successfully defend their Commonwealth Games title would certainly warrant an extra chapter. It was another great Emma Snowsill who won in Melbourne back in 2006, and as Duffy looks to surpass the Australian’s record three world titles this year, another Commonwealth crown would further underline her credentials as the greatest the sport has ever seen.
She will have the current number one Georgia Taylor-Brown to contend with, though, as well as a partisan crowd getting behind the home-nation athletes. Taylor-Brown finished second behind Duffy in Tokyo and again at last year’s WTCS Abu Dhabi, but since then, victory in Yokohama and silvers in Leeds and Montreal have put the Brit in pole position in the world title chase, and her current form will make her a hot favourite again in Birmingham.
Teammate Sophie Coldwell has also been putting together some exceptional swim-bike-run form, and after hitting back-to-back WTCS podiums in Leeds she will love being back in front of the home crowds and can be explosive over the sprint distance.
Scotland’s Beth Potter hit her first WTCS podium in Hamburg and will relish another shot at a Commonwealth Games medal – four years ago she became the first Scot to compete at the Games in different events, grabbing 12th in triathlon having previously finished fifth in the 10,000m back on home soil at Glasgow 2014, and her star has been in the ascension ever since.
Nobody on the start list has more Commonwealth Games experience Andrea Hansen (formerly Hewitt), who was third back in Melbourne 2006, fourth in Glasgow and 13th on the Gold Coast, and she is joined by fellow New Zealanders Nicole Van der Kaay and Ainsley Thorpe in the quest for medals.
The 2013 World Champion Non Stanford makes her return to the blue carpet for the first time since her top 10 finish at last year’s WTCS Abu Dhabi, representing Wales alongside Olivia Mathias and Issy Morris.
A strong Canadian trio of Dominika Jamnicky, the returning Amelie Kretz and Emy Legault will be looking to make a splash in both the individual and Mixed Relay, while Australia’s Natalie Van Coevorden, Charlotte McShane and Sophie Linn all have the potential to deliver eye-catching performances.
India’s Pragnya Mohan is among the names representing the emerging triathlon nations, as athletes from the likes of Mauritius, Namibia, Kenya and Trinidad and Tobago will also be ready to relish their moment in the spotlight against some of the biggest names in the sport.
For the full start lists, click here.
12:45 - 05 Apr, 2018