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NI gymnast Rhys McClenaghan wins RTE Sport Young Sportsperson Of The Year

Rhys McClenaghan
Rhys McClenaghan
John Toner

By John Toner

Trailblazing Co Down gymnast Rhys McClenaghan was last night named RTE Sport Young Sportsperson Of The Year for the second year running.

The Newtownards native (20) made history this year as the first Irish gymnast to win a medal at the World Championships, claiming a bronze in the pommel horse.

He also booked a place at the 2020 Olympic Games by qualifying for the final at the World Championships, and is confident of being able to compete for medals in Tokyo next summer.

He had relocated to Dublin from Newtownards for training after being forced to train in his own back garden when his coach was made redundant.

Speaking earlier this year, the gymnast said: "I'm experienced in my own way and I know any time I go into a pressure situation, like I was at the World Championships, I can perform.

"This is what's so exciting, I've finally achieved my childhood dream of going to the Olympics, that's what I was going out there for to get that qualification."

Golfer Shane Lowry was crowned RTE Sport Sportsperson Of The Year after he claimed his first major title at the 148th Open at Royal Portrush. Former Dublin Gaelic football manager Jim Gavin was named Manager Of The Year for overseeing an unprecedented five-in-a-row All-Ireland titles for the Dubs - who were named Team Of The Year.

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Also honoured at the ceremony was Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Sonia O'Sullivan who received the Hall Of Fame Award.

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