HELEN MAKES OLYMPIC GRADE IN MADRID

27 May 2008

Bridgend's Helen Tucker is celebrating after achieving the Olympic triathlon qualification criteria at the Madrid World Cup meeting in Spain.

Tucker finished second in the women's race in Madrid. Helen Tucker run

"I can't believe it. After my injuries I wasn't able to do much hard running but I felt awesome," said Tucker, who has battled injuries for the last two years.

"I"ve made the Olympic selection criteria so we'll wait to see when they announce the team but I fully expect to be on that pontoon in Beijing," said Avil.

Compatriot, 18-year-old Hollie Avil from Northampton , the 2007 European and World Junior Champion as part of the Corus Great Britain team, finished fourth having held third position for much of the run.

Both British triathletes met the Olympic Games selection criteria by finishing in the top eight positions.

The Britons led out of the water with Tucker first, Scotland ’s Kerry Lang second and 2004 Olympian Jodie Swallow third.

A lead pack of four managed to break away in the early stages of the bike and only Tucker and Avil were able to hold the pace of reigning World Champion, Vanessa Fernandes from Portugal and Switzerland ’s Danielle Ryf.

With a 2min 30sec lead coming into second transition the top four positions were never in doubt and Tucker ran strongly to pick up silver with Avil an impressive fourth in only her third World Cup race.

The British team for the Olympics will be confirmed on 26 June.