They actually have done it in the last qualifying round in Berlin… they kept believing, with determination on their faces and a never give up attitude, 4 or 5 slots in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 became a reality…The madison will have Irish representation at the men and women’s race, and a possible Women’s Omnium slot…not bad for a country who has no indoor velodrome and has to train and live away from home most of the year!! Living the dream an award for their dedication, their very sober and enduring lifestyle and the belief that things are possible if you really want it!! Chapeau to the Irish Queens and Kings of the boards!!
It was a nerve-wracking affair as both Hong Kong and Portugal, who Ireland needed to beat, got off to the better start scoring points during the early stages of the 50-kilometre team event. With an average speed of 58.7km/h, the pace started to take its toll; Hong Kong was forced to retire while Portugal lost a lap resulting in a 20-point deduction. As the race wore on Ireland capitalised and picked up three points with just three sprint opportunities remaining. The late score saw Ireland jump up the rankings and provisionally secure Olympic qualification by the narrowest of margins.
Lydia Boylan and Lydia Gurley survived a brutal race in the World Championship Women’s Madison to finish 11th. The result has added to Ireland’s points tally throughout the qualification period and provisionally qualifies two slots in the Women’s Madison and one slot in the Women’s Omnium at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Lydia Boylan and Lydia Gurley scored two points from an intermediate sprint in the early stages of the 30-kilometre race but one of many crashes during the race saw Boylan hit the deck. Thankfully she was not seriously injured and was able to re-join the race on a spare bike. Gurley was forced to extend her effort as she waited for Boylan to re-join the race and provide some relief as they average over 50kph.
A well done to the track Team Ireland manager Brian Nugent (photo above) and Team Ireland track coach Martine Irvine (photo below)…with limited resources getting Olympic and world championship qualifications is already very remarkable, if not world-class!!
Also well done to the Women’s Track team Ireland, who broke the Irish Record team pursuit and finished eight in Berlin in that discipline… Well done Kelly, Mia, Lara and Alice!! Note: Kelly Murphy also broke the Irish Individual Pursuit record this for the second time this year (Euro Champs first time)
And personally so pleased for the family Downey from Dromore (Banbridge Co-Down) Mark has now followed in his father Seamus footsteps with becoming an Olympic cyclist…their support has been enormous and now rewarded with the ultimate in cycling…Father and now son in the Olympics!!!