Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) – World champion Flora Duffy claimed triathlon gold for tiny Bermuda and Canada’s Joanna Brown took bronze just a month after breaking her shoulder as the Commonwealth Games got underway Thursday.
Duffy, the 2016 and 2017 world title-winner, sprinted to victory in 56min 50sec to end Bermuda’s 20-year Games medal drought and become the islands’ first female medallist.
The 30-year-old, who will also compete in mountain biking, powered away on the 5km run to win by 43 seconds from England’s Jessica Learmonth, with Brown coming in five seconds later.
“The coolest part is that Bermuda’s a tiny place, but at this point we’re leading the medal tally,” Duffy laughed, after winning the Games’ opening event.
“It’s a really big moment for Bermuda. I think in Bermuda it’s going to be a pretty big deal at the moment, everyone will be going crazy.”
Brown said she was only cleared to take part in the sprint-length race, half the distance of an Olympic course, three days ago after breaking her shoulder last month.
“This feels amazing. I actually didn’t know if I was going to be at the start line today,” she said.
Brown, 25, wrote off her bike while riding on the Formula One race track in Abu Dhabi, and only found out later she had fractured the top of her left humerus.
“I got up, limped away and I found out about four days later when I came to Australia that my shoulder was fractured,” she told AFP.
“When I couldn’t swim and couldn’t even lift my arm, I knew something was really wrong.”
England’s Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, the 2016 Olympics gold and silver medallists, are favourites in the men’s race later on Thursday.
Nineteen gold medals are up for grabs on the opening day of the Games, which feature about 4,500 athletes from 71 nations and territories.