Commonwealth Games: Bermuda's Olympic champion Duffy retains triathlon title

Flora Duffy of Bermuda wins gold in the women’s individual triathlon. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM (AFP) - Flora Duffy - Bermuda's first-ever Olympic champion - became the first triathlete to win two Commonwealth Games titles with a dominant display in Birmingham on Friday (July 29) as England's Alex Yee won the men's event.

The 34-year-old Duffy finished in 55min 25sec, 41 seconds clear of England's Georgia Taylor-Brown, who also took silver behind Duffy in Tokyo last year.

Beth Potter of Scotland finished third.

"No one has ever won twice and that was weighing on me," Duffy told the BBC. "The crowd was really behind Georgia (Taylor-Brown) but I was soaking it up and it was really special.

"It's been a really strange start to the year and coming off the Olympics, and having Covid twice, but I knew if I gave myself time and patience I could put on a good performance here."

Duffy held the slenderest of leads over Taylor-Brown heading into the third and final leg of the sprint-distance event, the five-kilometre run.

However, despite some poor form this season, which she put down to suffering from coronavirus, she blew her 28-year-old rival away on the first lap.

"I was a bit flat on the run, I just didn't have the legs," said Taylor-Brown.

"Considering how I felt before the race, I am just happy with a silver medal.

"I am bored of coming home second to Flora."

Yee wins gold

Taylor-Brown may have been unable to turn silver into gold but her compatriot and Olympic runner-up Yee managed to do so in the men's race.

He hailed his victory as his "greatest achievement" despite his second-place finish at last year's Tokyo Games.

England's Alex Yee poses with his gold medal during the presentation ceremony for the men's individual sprint distance triathlon. PHOTO: AFP

The 24-year-old made up a deficit of 15 seconds following the bike section to overhaul long-time pacesetter Hayden Wilde on the run and finish in a time of 50:34.

New Zealand's Wilde briefly regained the lead but, with a 10-second penalty hanging over him, he patted Yee on the shoulder and waved him on to take the honours on his own.

"Just bizarre that it's me doing this," Yee said.

"There were so many nations and athletes that I have not raced before.

"I feel extremely grateful and proud to be a triathlete today.

"This is a home Games and the first time I have been able to race in front of my parents for a long time. This is probably I'd say my greatest achievement ever." Yee also won mixed relay gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Taylor-Brown.

Wilde sat out his penalty - incurred for not putting his cycling helmet away properly in the transition - but last year's Olympic bronze medallist still took silver.

"I am chuffed for the guy (Yee)," he said.

"He played the perfect race. He was always in contention and I knew it was going to be a hard task (on the run)."

Wilde, who timed 50:47, said having Yee as a rival was a great motivation for him.

"We have had such great battles since Tokyo, with him getting the (Olympic) silver and me getting the bronze," he said.

Australia's Matthew Hauser, who finished three seconds behind Wilde, won bronze in an event in which 2018 champion Henri Schoeman pulled out before the start.

Multiple world champion Jonny Brownlee was another high-profile absentee due to a broken elbow.

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