Triathlon champion Duffy eyes Paris Games. Olympic winner focuses upcoming event after an 18 month injury layoff.

STELLENBOSCH : Olympic triathlon champion Flora Duffy returns after an 18-month injury layoff this weekend but faces a race against time to be ready to defend her crown in Paris.

The 36-year-old became Bermuda's first gold medallist in a comprehensive win at Tokyo Games but a knee injury has kept her from competing since she won a second successive world title in late 2022.

She lines up on Saturday in Yokohama as the 2024 World Triathlon Championship Series makes a delayed start after the season's first event in Abu Dhabi was cancelled because of story weather.

'' My knee is good now, but it only sort of turned the corner in December. So then it takes quite a while to build up to appropriate training,'' Duffy explained in an interview with Reuters at her home in South Africa's winelands prior to departing for Japan.

'' So it's definitely going to be a tight timeline to be in medal contention shape for the Paris Olympics.  But if everything goes smoothly, I think I can get there in good shape. But yeah, it's not an ideal situation at all.''

Duffy suffered a partial tear on her patellar tendon and her recovery has taken longer than expected. '' It means a very different build up to what it was before Tokyo where I was pretty confident and training had gone well,'' she said.

'' You want to be as consistent as possible with your training and having a year essentially not training properly is not ideal. It's going to be interesting to see how it all comes back.

'' But I am going there with intentions of performing my best to try and win a medal. But yeah, I've made it significantly harder for myself, right?''

Tokyo was a fourth Olympics for Duffy, who was among the favorites and ran on her own to gold after slowly stripping away the field. [ Reuters ]


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