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Duffy to bow out in Bermuda’s Grand Final

  • Flora Duffy on Queen Street, Hamilton, during the bike ride in the ITU World Triathlon Series in April (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Flora Duffy will end her ITU triathlon career on home soil in 2021 as the island hosts the World Triathlon Grand Final.

Duffy revealed her plans yesterday as Bermuda was announced as the host of the race, one of the sport’s biggest events.

“Having the Grand Final in 2021 sets up the perfect way to end my ITU career,” Duffy told The Royal Gazette. “For me, it’s incredibly special.

“It’s fabulous; the global triathlon community will get a taste of Bermuda and get to experience the island.”

Duffy did not say she was retiring from the sport after the Grand Final in 2021.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority welcomed the news and the Grand Final is expected to attract about 3,000 athletes to Bermuda and put the island back in the international spotlight.

The announcement came after Bermuda hosted a successful ITU World Triathlon Series event in April, which was won by home-grown star Duffy.

BTA chief executive Kevin Dallas said: “While winning the ITU World Triathlon Series was an awesome achievement, winning the Grand Final has been our ambition from the beginning.

“This is an amazing milestone in Bermuda’s journey to become a premier sports tourism destination.

“I have full confidence that Bermuda will seize this incredible multiyear opportunity to show the world how we skilfully execute high-profile events out here.”

Mr Dallas added: “These triathlon events shine a spotlight on Bermuda and, importantly, have positive and lasting impacts for our tourism economy, as well as for athletes, families and volunteers.”

The BTA said 450 local workers and volunteers had earned high praise for their work at the event.

Bermuda will host World Series events in 2019 and 2020, but the Grand Final is expected to draw a much larger crowd and even more media attention.

A study from PricewaterhouseCoopers said: “Based on prior WTS Grand Final events, approximately 3,000 athletes are expected to participate in the age-group race, with 55 men and 55 women in the elite race and 100 para-triathletes.

“The estimated incremental on-island spend for the WTS Grand Final is $13.4 million, which results in an anticipated overall impact on GDP of $16.6 million.”

The study estimated the total cost to host the event would be $3.5 million, with $1.6 million in government cash and the balance expected to come from corporate sponsors.

The BTA said the estimate from PwC was a tenfold return on the $1.6 million investment of public money.

Justin Mathias, the OBA spokesperson for tourism in the Senate, said the event would bring “significant revenue” to the island.

He said: “The World Triathlon Series earlier this year had a $4.4m impact on the island’s GDP and generated a 152 per cent return on investment.

“The final will have an even bigger impact that will benefit the entire island. PwC, in its World Triathlon Series Bermuda 2018 Impact Study, said that spending on-island as a result of hosting the Grand Final could be in the region of $13 million. That will be a tremendous boost for the economy.”

Tim Morrison, general manager of Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, was delighted by the news.

He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Bermuda as both a travel and sporting destination.”