Track Cycling World Championships: Mark Downey and Felix English clinch Irish Olympic spot

Felix English and Mark Downey
Felix English and Mark Downey rallied late in the race to finish ahead of Hong Kong and Portugal

Mark Downey and Felix English have secured Ireland's spot in the Men's Madison at the Tokyo Olympics.

The pair finished 11th in the final of the Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin.

By winning a place in the Madison the Irish also claim a spot in the Men's Omnium for July's Games in Tokyo.

Downey is almost certain to be selected and, if so, would join his father Seamus as an Olympian, who competed in the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

Needing to finish ahead of Hong Kong and Portugal in the 50km (200laps) race in Berlin, the Irish pair were helped when the team from Hong Kong pulled out early on.

However as the race entered the final quarter Ireland still found themselves with no points and behind Portugal.

The relentless pace at the front set by gold medal winners Denmark, amongst others, proved too much for some of the teams including the Portuguese who were lapped by the leaders and lost twenty points in the process.

In the 18th of 20 sprints with 20 laps remaining, Downey released English, who finished second to collect three vital points and Ireland held on for 11th place with Portugal 14th and Hong Kong 17th.

On Saturday, Lydia Boylan and Lydia Gurley booked a spot in the Olympic Madison and Omnium races after finishing 11th in the women's event in Germany.