World Triathlon Female defending Champion Bermuda’s Flora Duffy will have the chance to become the first Bermudian athlete to win a Gold Medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
At 9.30am on Thursday, the Women’s Triathlon, being held at Southport’s Broadwater Parklands, will be the first medal event of the Games, which will begin with a spectacular opening ceremony at Carrara Stadium on Wednesday night.
Also in the field representing Bermuda will be Erica Hawley, but a lot of eyes will be focused on world number 2 Gold Coast triathlete Ashleigh Gentle who has spent the last 18 months learning how to seize the moment, and she and her country is hoping that her moment is here.
Gentle, 27, is coming off the best year of her career under new coach Jamie Turner, but she faces a truly world-class field at the Games, featuring five of the world’s top 10 athletes, including Bermuda’s world champion Duffy.
The Australian is the only athlete to have beaten Duffy in the past year, giving a glimpse of her potential when she broke through to win the World Series event in Montreal last year, by chasing down and running away from her rival.
Gentle is renowned as one of the fastest female runners in the sport and on a fast, flat sprint course (750m Swim, 20km Cycle, 5km Run) she is hoping to have the opportunity to show off her rocket heels this week.
“I have ridden and run around here (the Gold Coast) most of my life,’’ she said.
“I am certainly comfortable here, that’s for sure.
“Triathlons are always tough and when you have the world No 1 in the field in Duffy, such a great all-round triathlete and amazing bike rider, you know you are in a race. But she is not unbeatable. The New Zealand, English and Canadian girls will all make a race of it.