Rhys McClenaghan satisfied after opening day

Defending Commonwealth Games pommel horse champion Rhys McClenaghan was satisfied with his routine on the opening day in Birmingham.

By Ciaran Donaghy
Saturday, 30th July 2022, 8:00 am

The gold medal winner from Australia four years ago topped the afternoon qualifying session with a score of 14.75.

“I’m happy enough with the performance and I know I can improve a lot on that and that is exciting for me,” said McClenaghan.

“I feel like I can add a full point onto that score, and I look forward to Monday’s final.

Rhys McClenaghan of Team Northern Ireland competes on the pommel horse during the Men's Team and Individual Artistic Gymnastic Qualification on day one of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Arena Birmingham. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

“It is still a little bit of a fresh new routine that I am putting out there and the construction of it has changed over the past few months, so I am glad that I am still able to get through it from start to finish and that is what you want to see.

“I’m not sure if I felt extra pressure but I always feel a certain level of pressure.

“I feel that comes more from myself rather than the crowd watching me.

“I did my job today under that pressure and I’m excited for the finals.”

After having no crowd in Tokyo for the Olympics last year the Ards gymnast was happy to be back performing in front of a full house.

“Having the crowd there it makes that finish of a routine a little more relieving and a little more exciting, the fact tat the crowds are right with you” he said.

“I’m glad to be back in an arena that is packed out and an arena where I can put on a good show.”

Team NI’s other two gymnasts also look set for the final in their discipline.

Eamon Montgomery finished the floor exercise qualifying with the highest score as the judges awarded him 13.75 while Ewan McAteer’s combined 13.95 after two vaults sees him lying second.

“All three of us Ewan, Eamon and myself did our job and I couldn’t be prouder of the team,” said McClenaghan.

“We came in like businessmen and got the job done and I’m excited to re-enter that competition floor hopefully with the boys with me again,” concluded McClenaghan.

Victoria Catterson qualified for the Women’s 200 metre free style final by beating Michelle De Bruin’s 25 year old Irish record.

At the bowls in Leamington Spa the Team NI Men’s Triples started with a 24-10 win over Norfolk Island before drawing 15-15 with Wales.

Shauna O’Neill lost 21-14 to Scotland’s Dee Hoggan in the Women’s singles.

At the NEC, boxer JP Hale lost his round of 32 bout on a 3-2 judges decision against Joshua Tukamuhebwa of Uganda.

In table tennis Singapore beat Team NI 3-0 in their Group 3 game.

James Edgar finished 16th in the Triathlon.