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Dublin: 2°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Irish duo provisionally qualify for Tokyo Olympics

It’s been a day to remember for Felix English and Mark Downey.

Mark Downey (right) pictured competing.
Mark Downey (right) pictured competing.
Image: Guy Swarbrick

IRISH DUO FELIX English and Mark Downey provisionally secured Olympic qualification in the Men’s Madison following an 11th-place finish at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin.

The pair needed to beat representatives from Portugal and Hong Kong, with the latter forced to retire from the race while the former lost a lap resulting in a 20-point deduction.

A strong finish saw Ireland achieve provisional Olympic qualification, and both Downey and English expressed their delight after the race.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” Downey said.

“It’s been a long process for two years now and I think we needed 101 things to go our way today. We woke up this morning and the two of us were so nervous because we knew we just couldn’t make one mistake and it just goes to show that yeah, we’ve had our backs up against the wall now for nearly a year and a half and we’ve done it in the last (race) so that’s pretty special.”

“It was just mad,” English added. “We knew everyone, especially those top-five teams were just going to be untouchable essentially. And then we had two teams we needed to look at which was Hong Kong and Portugal. We needed to put five spots into Hong Kong, and we needed to just beat Portugal in the race.”

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Earlier, Alice Sharpe finished 21st in the Points Race, having broke the Irish record to finish eighth as part of the Women’s Pursuit Team on Friday.

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