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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

'There is so much more to come, I can promise you that. My eyes are set on the world title'

The world is at the feet of 19-year-old gymnast Rhys McClenaghan.

NEVER HAS IRISH sport been so strong on the international stage, again evidenced this afternoon by the awe-inspiring and mesmerising exploits of teenager Rhys McClenaghan who claimed European gold on the pommel horse.

Britain Gymnastics European Championships McClenaghan made Irish sporting history in Glasgow today. Source: AP/PA Images

The 19-year-old, already a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, made history at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro by becoming the first Irish gymnast to medal at the European Championships.

Not only did McClenaghan better his career-best performance from yesterday’s semi-final, but claimed gold in emphatic style, his score of 15.300 seeing him finish 0.434 ahead of a field which included double Olympic champion Max Whitlock.

While Whitlock made an error during his routine to finish seventh, McClenaghan was composed throughout and conjured a remarkable performance, as he finished with a triple Russian.

“It’s pretty incredible that I’m the European champion now,” he said afterwards.

“I’ve dreamt of this moment all of my life, all of my gymnastics career. I’ve even dreamt of being in that final with all those top names. It’s surreal, a dream come true to be standing on top of that podium.

“No one else’s routine would affect mine. I had my job and I was going to do it. I was determined to go through that routine. It showed in my performance as I kept my cool and got through the routine quite nicely.”

McClenaghan added: “Another PB shows how fast I am progressing in this sport and that’s even more of a confidence booster for Tokyo 2020. There’s so much more to come, I can promise that and I’m looking forward to the next battle.

“It’s an incredible achievement but my eyes are set on that world title. I’ll go back to the training gym and work harder than ever.”

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Ryan Bailey

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