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Duffy claims fourth world title

by Barbados Today Traffic
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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Bermudian superstar Dame Flora Duffy beat her younger British rival Georgia Taylor-Brown by more than a minute to clinch a record fourth women’s world title, successfully defending her World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) crown with a thrilling victory in an epic grand final in the Abu Dhabi heat on Friday.

Duffy, who also won in 2016, 2017 before adding a third world title last year, said she was “really, really proud of this one”.

Sending a warning to her rivals, she added, “I’m still enjoying it, so I’ll keep going.”

Much of the pre-race focus was on the highly anticipated showdown between Duffy, the 35-year-old Olympic champion – second in the standings heading into the finale – and Taylor-Brown, 28, who held a 69-point advantage over her rival after missing the previous race in Bermuda, which Duffy won.

Fittingly, the race came down to a straight shoot-out between the pair, with Duffy, who twice overcame COVID-19 earlier in the year, again producing when it mattered most, making the decisive move at the start of the third lap of the 10-kilometre run and surging ahead of her rival to give herself a crucial lead.

With daylight opening up between herself and the only person who could stop her date with destiny, Duffy went on to cross line in one hour, 53: 24 minutes, with Taylor-Brown second in 1:54:28 and Germany’s Lena Meissner, claiming a first podium finish, third in 1:55:59.

“I’m really, really proud of this one,” said Duffy,  who topped the final standings with 5,106 points, just 25 ahead of Taylor-Brown. American Taylor Knibb, fourth on Friday, finished third overall on 4,179 points.

“It was a difficult start to the year for me coming out of the Olympics and COVID and everything and it took a lot of work to get my mind back into it so I’m thrilled.

“Of course, it came down to the two of us. I smiled a few times when it was just me and Georgia, I feel like she brings me to another level.

“It was an absolute battle out there, we don’t really give each other an inch and I just wanted to stay safe because it was super hot out there.

“When I got a little bit of a gap on the third lap of the run it was a little sooner than I anticipated but I thought, ‘Well, gotta go now’, and just had to keep pushing.

“I’m definitely getting up there [in age]. I think I’m pretty much consistently the oldest in these races, but I’m still enjoying it, so I’ll keep going.”

Duffy’s latest triumph in a title-laden career, sees her move clear of Australian Emma Snowsill – who won three world crowns between 2003 and 2006 – in the record books, cementing her status as the most successful short-course female triathlete in history.

Taylor-Brown said: “I gave absolutely everything I had. It’s just been a hard few months personally and I’ve just tried to put everything in a box and forget about it all and concentrate on the race.

“I’m really proud of myself for putting myself out there today and just emptying everything and doing what I could.

“We laughed at one point [her and Duffy] and I said, ‘It’s just me and you, kid’. We were just battling it out to the end and I wouldn’t have it any other way and I don’t think she would. It’s fun racing with her and like I said, I gave it absolutely everything.

“There definitely is and I’m still learning every race that I do and I still want to take that world title one day.” (CMC)

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