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Disappointment for Rhys McClenaghan in pommel horse event at World Gymnastics Championships in Japan

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Rhys McClenaghan

Rhys McClenaghan

Rhys McClenaghan

Tokyo Olympian Rhys McClenaghan had endured more disappointment in Japan.

He failed to qualify for the final of the pommel horse at the World Gymnastics Championships in Kitakyushu.

McClenaghan had to endure a 90-minute delay before performing his routine after a gymnast tested positive for Covid-19. This resulted in the competition being paused until the equipment was sanitised.

A late slip in his qualification routine saw the 22-year-old score 13.766 which wasn’t sufficient to secure him a place in Saturday’s final.

A frustrated McClenaghan wrote on twitter: “I’m sad I trained until this point just to have the chalk wiped off the equipment and been told to wait 1 hour and 30 minutes before I competed due to a competitor in the subdivision testing positive for Covid.

“Time to go home and just hope there’s not another Worlds like this one.”

This is the second time this year that the Down gymnast has experienced acute disappointment in Japan. In the pommel horse final at the Tokyo Olympics he fell off the apparatus after 12 seconds of his routine and finished seventh overall.

Two years ago he became the first Irish gymnast to win a medal at the World Championships when he secured a bronze in Stuttgart.

Speaking about today’s men’s qualifiers, Gymnastics Ireland CEO Ciaran Gallagher said: ‘It was a difficult subdivision for Rhys McClenaghan out in Japan this morning, and indeed for all the other gymnasts in his sub as a Covid-19 related issue led to over an hour delay to the competition.

"The tight covid protocols and response to any covid related matter from the Japanese gov/organisers are of course completely understandable however of course this kind of impact mid-event is felt by all the gymnasts.

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"As ever Rhys pushed through his routine in difficult circumstances and was unlucky not to final on this occasion.

"We all know what he is capable of and are all incredibly proud to have him fly the flag so well for Ireland/Gymnastics Ireland.

"With this being the last major event in 2021 Rhys, our National Coach Luke and Performance & Technical Manager Sally will now refocus on 2022 as the campaign towards Paris 2024 begins next year."

Tomorrow, Emma Slevin competes in the all around finals after becoming the first Irish competitor to reach a World championship final in this discipline. The final is at 10am Irish time and is live on RTE Player.


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