Historic European Gymnastics Medal for Irish Junior Rhys McClenaghan
30th May 2016, 00:00a.m. | International
Irish gymnasts continue to be on the rise with the first ever European medal win for Ireland at 2016 European Championships.
Following on from his 13th place finish in the All-Around competition 16 year-old Rhys McClenaghan from Rathgael Gymnastics Club became the first Irish gymnast to secure a podium finish at a European Championships. McClenaghan claimed his historic silver medal at the Junior European Apparatus Finals in Bern today when he scored 14.566 on the pommel horse to take the silver medal, a mere 0.1 off the gold.
Speaking from the finals in Bern, Gymnastics Ireland CEO, Ciaran Gallagher said:
Before competing in today's Pommel Final Rhys had already made history for Gymnastics Ireland by becoming the first Irish male gymnast to qualify for the All Around final where he placed 13th, for those that know Rhys and his abilities it was no shock that he secured his position in the Pommel final as he entered into the championships with one of the most difficult routines for a junior in Europe on this apparatus. Today he delivered another significant historic milestone for our organisation and Ireland as a nation, for all of us who have been involved in the sport for many years it was a touching moment to see Rhys step onto the podium with traditional gymnastics powerhouse nations Russia & Great Britain and watch the Irish flag rise in the arena. On behalf of our organisation I congratulate and thank Rhys for his hard work and dedication in securing this result. Credit must also go to Rhys' personal coach and Irish National Performance Coach Luke Carson and Gymnastics Ireland Performance & Technical Manager Sally Filmer for their strategic planning & preparation over the past number of years, results like this do not just happen. Today's medal tops off what has been a great championships for our Junior & Senior men.
The Women's Europeans are up next with Irish Olympian Ellis O'Reilly scheduled to compete in the senior competition along with team mate Casey Bell and junior Meg Ryan will be in action later this week.