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Rhys McClenaghan wins bronze with incredible performance in World Championship final

Newtownards youngster adds historic world medal to his CV in Stuttgart.

Image: Amy Sanderson

RHYS MCCLENAGHAN WON Ireland’s first-ever medal at the Gymnastics World Championships with a near-flawless performance in the pommel horse final.

McClenaghan, 20, clinched bronze with a magnificent score of 15.400 points — just 0.1 behind winner Max Whitlock who claimed his third world title in the discipline.

Chih-Kai Lee of Chinese Taipei took silver in Stuttgart, just edging out McClenaghan with a score of 15.433.

Whitlock set a daunting bar but when McClenaghan’s turn came, the youngster from Newtownards put in one of the performances of his career, scoring 9.000 on excecution — the best of any of the nine finalists.

That was enough to temporarily move him into second place and put him in real contention to add a World Championship medal to the European and Commonwealth pommel horses golds he won in 2018.

Lee’s routine, which carried 0.1 difficulty points more than McClenaghan’s, ultimately proved to be the difference as he did just enough to take silver ahead of the Irishman. 

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Niall Kelly

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