Rhys McClenaghan lifts World Cup gold medal in Turkey

Northern Ireland's Rhys McClenaghan
Northern Ireland's Rhys McClenaghan

Rhys McClenaghan claimed gold at the men’s pommel horse final at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Turkey.

The Newtownards gymnast scored 14.150 to claim his second World Cup gold medal.

McClenaghan endured a difficult build up to the tournament, leaving his training base last month after his coach Luke Carson was made redundant.

His Ireland team-mates Adam Steele and Andrew Smith earlier finished in fifth and sixth place in the floor final.

Great Britain’s Frank Baines took silver in the pommel while bronze went to Justin Karstadt of Canada.

The 19-year-old won Northern Ireland’s only gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

After leaving Rathgael Gym, who cited “significant financial challenges” as the reason for making Carson’s position redundant, McClenaghan was forced to train in his back garden.

He was then offered training facilities in Dublin by Sport Ireland and Gymnastics Ireland in order to continue preparations for the tournament and that seems to have paid off as he has gone on to win a gold medal.

McClenaghan, who won gold in the same event in Croatia last year, qualified for the final with the third best score (13.850) on Friday.

Sally Johnson, Gymnastics Ireland Performance & Technical Manager, said: “Fantastic result from Rhys securing gold for the second time in a World Cup.

“The Irish team has made history with allthree gymnasts qualifying in six finals.

Special congratulations to Adam making four finals and a personal best on floor.”