Saturday 19 October 2019

Rhys McClenaghan makes Irish sporting history with bronze medal in World Gymnastics final

Ireland's Rhys McClenaghan in action in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships men's Pommel Horse final in Stuttgart, Germany. Photo: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay
Ireland's Rhys McClenaghan in action in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships men's Pommel Horse final in Stuttgart, Germany. Photo: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

Sean McGoldrick

Ireland's Rhys McClenaghan has created sporting history by winning a bronze medal in the Pommel Horse event at the World Gymnastics final in Stuttgart.

The 20-year is the first ever Irish gymnast to win a medal in the World championships – he had already secured a place at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo by qualifying for the final.

England's Max Whitlock took the gold in a nail-biting final, though McClenaghan scored the highest mark – nine out of ten – for the execution of his routine.

Whitlock, the current Olympic champion, has now won the World title in this event a record three times.

Twenty-year-old McClenaghan had pipped him at both last year's Commonwealth Games and European Championships but Whitlock – who also won a bronze medal at the London Olympics – took the gold in Stuttgart by virtue of the fact that his routine was more difficult.

There are two elements to the scoring system – degree of difficulty and execution.

McClenaghan scored 6.4 for the former and 9.0 for the latter bringing his total to 15.4 just behind Whitlock's 15.5.

McClenaghan was in the silver medal position after his routine but Lee Chai Kai subsequently pushed him into third place with a final score of 15.433.

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