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TRIATHLON-BERMUDA-Duffy fights back to win big race in South Africa.

Bermuda's star triathlete Flora Duffy has qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships after bouncing back to score an emphatic victory on her debut in the sprint-distance event here Sunday.

Duffy, the 32-year-old two-times ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS) champion who is seeking Olympic glory in Japan this summer, came from behind to win the Ironman 70.3 South Africa in a time of four hours, 34:05 minutes after dominating the swim and run legs.

Duffy took early control of the half Ironman event after exiting the water in first place with a-more-than three-minute advantage over the chasing pack, which she increased to four seconds by the halfway stage of the bike.

However, all of her hard work almost came undone after slipping to third on the return leg of the 56-mile bike, leaving her trailing leader Emma Pallant, of Britain, by five minutes at the second transition to the 13.1-mile run.

With her Ironman 70.3 World Championships qualifying hopes hanging in the balance, Duffy mounted a fightback and eventually regained the lead with 3.1 miles of the race remaining.

Pallant finished second in 4:36:08 with South Africa's Jade Nicole finished third in 4:41:17.

The Ironman 70.3 World Championships will be held in Taupo, New Zealand, from November 28-29.

With that spot guaranteed, Duffy can now turn her attention to the WTS season and the Olympics.

Duffy, the WTS champion in 2016 and 2017 who spent the majority of last year nursing a long-term foot injury, will hope to become the first Bermudian to win a medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer since heavyweight boxer Clarence Hill claimed bronze at the Games in Montreal in 1976.

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Publication:CANA News
Geographic Code:5BERM
Date:Jan 27, 2020
Words:335
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