Rhys McClenaghan back to his best as he secures final spot

Rhys McClenaghan qualified for next Sunday’s final at the Olympics after a flawless pommel horse routine on Saturday.

Sunday, 25th July 2021, 5:38 pm
Updated Sunday, 25th July 2021, 5:40 pm

The Newtownards man, who won the European title and Commonwealth Games gold in 2018, was back on top form after missing out on a medal at the European Championships in Basel in April scoring 15.266.

The 22-year-old was delighted to progress describing his first experience of Olympic competition as “incredible”.

“I stepped off from my routine and just said ‘it’s the Olympic Games’. It’s my first time watching the Olympic Games live let alone being in it,” McClenaghan told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.

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Rhys McClenaghan of Ireland competes on Pommel Horse

“It always surprises me how little pressure I put on myself when I’m in that moment of doing a routine I’ve always done. I surprised myself again today but I wasn’t surprised that I went through that routine at all.

“My coach [Luke Carson] said it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ I got through, it’s ‘how’ I go through and I did a good job today. It’s exciting and I’m ready for this final.”

Belfast archer Patrick Huston and partner Sarah Bettles had a 5-3 opening win over China in the first round of the mixed team archery competition but later bowed out of the competition following a 5-0 defeat by third seeds Mexico, who went on to clinch the bronze medal behind South Korea and the Netherlands.

Lisburn boxer Kurt Walker secured an impressive unanimous decision win over Spain’s Jose Brotons in his opener.

In rowing Belfast rower Rebecca Shorten and her GB team-mates reached the women’s four final but there was disappointment for Philip Doyle’s as his medal hopes endedas he and his double sculls partner Ronan Byrne were sixth and last in their semi-final.

Coleraine rower Hannah Scott and her GB colleagues exited from the women’s quad after placing fourth in the repechage.

Swimmer Danielle Hill was over half a second outside her qualification time as she clocked 1:00.86 to finish third in her 100m backstroke