Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Rising star Rhys McClenaghan strikes silver while chasing top marks

By Frank Brownlow

Published 01/06/2016

On the up: Rhys McClenaghan (right) with his coach Luke Carson
On the up: Rhys McClenaghan (right) with his coach Luke Carson

Rhys McClenaghan has just returned from the European Gymnastics Championships in Switzerland where he won silver - while also having to take his GCSE exams during the trip.

The 16-year-old took silver in the junior pommel horse discipline - Northern Ireland's first ever medal at the championships.

The event was won by Russia's Sergei Naidin.

Rhys, a pupil at Regent House in Newtownards, wowed the judges with one of the most difficult routines of the entire championships.

Rhys sat his exams at the British Embassy in Bern in a special arrangement with his school and the education authorities.

Rhys also took bronze at the British Championships in Liverpool in April at a packed Echo Arena.

A member of Rathgael Gymnastics Club in Bangor, he finished third in the pommel horse event behind World champion Max Whitlock and Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith.

His coach Luke Carson, a former Commonwealth Games gymnast, is confident his protege can go all the way to the top and star at the Olympics in the years ahead.

"I truly believe he can become an Olympic champion in the future," said Carson.

"It is not just me as his coach who thinks he has a big future ahead.

"Other renowned coaches have recognised his talent and Louis Smith and Max Whitlock also think he has great ability.

"When I started coaching Rhys it was clear he had talent and big skills, but he was also rugged and raw. He has progressed so well.

"The pommel horse is his strongest apparatus but all round he is very strong.

"His whole year has been built around the European Junior Championships."

Tracy McClenaghan, mother of Rhys, is extremely proud of her son's achievements.

"It is difficult to find a balance between the gymnastics and schoolwork but it has helped Rhys become good at time management," she said.

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph