All systems are go for the opening ceremony for the MS Amlin World Triathlon on Thursday night for the big event on Saturday, when Flora Duffy will defend her World Champion title on her home turf.

The weekend festivities also presents an unprecedented opportunity for young Bermudian athletes.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Jamahl Simmons said the events present young athletes with “an amazing opportunity to compete on the world stage — and be inspired by watching Flora Duffy compete in her own country”.

Minister of Economic Development & Tourism Jamahl Simmons

“This world-class event will once again place Bermuda in the international sports spotlight. This week, Bermuda will welcome hundreds of visitors and the world’s best triathletes,” he added.

The countdown ends at 7pm on Thursday, at the digital clock near the flagpole on Front Street, with a Harbour Nights party including lots of food and music.

Leading the way for the 33 young flag bearers representing each country competing, will be CARIFTA Bronze Medalist Sakari Famous and Jesse Washington.

Pat Phillip-Fairn of the Bermuda Tourism Authority said: “This opportunity can inspired them in their own success. We wish them all a great race.”

The events mark the second of eight stops on the World Triathlon Series before the finals in September.

The Minister also noted that Bermuda’s junior triathlon programme has grown “significantly” over the past 25 years.

“Their work has been successful in developing junior triathletes to compete at an international level,” he said.

“The opportunity for our young athletes to compete using part of the same racecourse that the international triathletes will race on is exciting. We hope all residents will crowd Front Street and cheer on the TMR Kids Duathlon on Friday evening.

“To the young people of Bermuda, we celebrate your participation in the Opening Ceremony and the Duathlon. It is a privilege to be able to represent your country and to do so with the support of everyone in Bermuda will boost your confidence and inspire you to continue training and competing.”

More than 200 young athletes have registered for the Tokio Millennium Re Kids Duathlon takes place on Friday night from 7pm to 9pm on Front Street for athletes aged seven to 15.

They will take on the same route to be followed by the international triathletes on Saturday at 7am followed by the Digicel Feather Mile.

It all culminates with a big Street Party on Front Street from 9pm to midnight.

Chairman of the World Triathlon Bermuda, Phil Schmidt said: “It makes a lot of sense to start with our kids. Youth is where you create the opportunity for people to become confident human beings, and sports is a fantastic way.”

“It creates an opportunity for Bermuda to showcased itself and act as a role model, not just domestically, but to the world.”

The events will be broadcast to 160 countries, making it “a fantastic opportunity for Bermuda to broadcast itself and its beauty”, he added.

There’s also a “pasta party” planned for Thursday night, with an array of local cuisine by vendors.

The final event takes place on Sunday with a swim at 9am at Horseshoe Bay Beach for locals to link with our visiting triathletes in a casual setting after the full slate of events.

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