Belfast Telegraph

Rhys McClenaghan to return to training in Dublin

Rhys McClenaghan with his coach Luke Carson
Rhys McClenaghan with his coach Luke Carson

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rhys McClenaghan has been granted permission to train in Dublin by Sport Ireland and Gymnastics Ireland.

The 19-year old, who brought Northern Ireland's only gold medal from the Gold Coast on the pommel horse, had been without a coach when Luke Carson was made redundant by Rathgael Gym in Bangor.

McClenaghan is currently training for next month's Artistic Gymnasts World Cup in Turkey, and being without a coach or training facilities would have been a serious problem.

Because of insurance problems, McClenaghan had been training at home since Rathgael made Carson redundant due to "significant financial challenges", but now he has been handed a lifeline.

But the Newtownards man will now train in Dublin, with the endorsement of Sport Ireland and Gymnastics Ireland, and he is thankful to both organisations for the support.

"Gymnastics Ireland and Sport Ireland got in contact and have enabled us to go to Dublin to train," McClenaghan told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.

"They have been very supportive in providing me with accommodation and world-class facilities which is fantastic.

"I'm glad they have accommodated me in this way but it is not ideal by any means as I will be away from my friends, family and support network."

However, there is still considerable doubt over the future for McClenaghan once the World Cup ends, when he returns to Northern Ireland with nowhere to train going forward.

"At the minute there is no option for me to train in Northern Ireland as there is no high-performance training facility," he added.

"I have a World Cup coming up in Turkey which is very important to me and that is what I must focus on."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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