Matt Dunham/AP/Press Association Images
Making history: gymnast Kieran Behan qualifies for London 2012
The 22-year-old is only the second ever Irish athlete to secure a gymnastics spot at the Olympic Games.

KIERAN BEHAN became the first Irish gymnast in 16 years to qualify for the Olympics today.

The 22-year-old, who is based in Surrey, earned a place in the Floor Final at the London Prepares Test Event last night with a score of 14.8000 and secured a 34th place finish this afternoon to book a place in this year’s event.

Back in 1996, Barry McDonald became Ireland’s first and only gymnast to reach the Games so Behan’s achievement is quite remarkable.

What makes it even more incredible is that, at the age of 10, Behan, whose parents are from Dublin and Monaghan, feared he might never walk again after a tumour was discoverd on his leg.

After reaching the final at the O2 Arena last night, his coach Simon Gale, said on the Gymnastics Ireland website: “I’m absolutely thrilled to bits, it’s absolutely incredible.

We consider this an amazing achievement to get this far, especially when so many other countries having a stronger pedigree in gymnastics haven’t got this far.”

Watch Behan’s Floor from qualifying:

YouTube credit: 

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