In the third stop of the 2017 World Triathlon Series the elites head to Japan to return to the familiar event of the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Yokohama. Last year Yokohama played the home to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic qualifying event for many nations, but this season the Japanese harbor city returns to host the second standard-distance race of the year. As one of the athlete-favourite events on the WTS calendar, many popular names will be debuting to the WTS circuit to compete in their first event of the 2017 season.
One of those names is the 2016 reigning ITU World Champion, Flora Duffy. After being forced to pull her name off the start list in both Abu Dhabi and Gold Coast this season due to injury, Duffy is finally ready to line up this weekend to begin her quest of reclaiming her world title. Duffy’s cinderella story was realized last year when she claimed four WTS podiums and two victories that aided in the seizing of the world crown for the first time for the small Caribbean-island woman. So after having to miss out on the first two WTS competitions of the season, Duffy is eager to get back on the blue carpet.
But possibly Duffy’s biggest threat to her crown this year is Kiwi Andrea Hewitt, who has staked claims on the overall Series gold after she won both races this season in Abu Dhabi and Gold Coast. Hewitt has been unstoppable so far, proving that she is the top competitor in both a sprint and standard-distance setting. Her confidence and fitness in all three disciplines has been evident this year, so it is no surprise that she once again will enter Yokohama wearing the golden number one. And if she does snag another WTS gold, she will earn her second Yokohama victory after she won in the same venue back in 2011.