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Rhys McClenaghan: Irish gymnast retains European title in Italy



The final was missing Britain’s double Olympic champion Max Whitlock because of injury but that didn’t take away from McClenaghan’s brilliant performance.

The 24 year-old watched on as three of his competitors fell during their respective routines, including the highest ranked qualifier for the final, Oleg Verniaiev from Ukraine.

De Munck set the mark for McClenaghan, who was the eighth of nine gymnasts to perform.

Despite the pressure, the eventual victor rose to the challenge superbly. His execution mark of 8.800 was the best in the competition and his victory was emphatic.

McClenaghan has improved with each of his three competition performances this season.

He now has three European titles to go with two World Championships and a Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Only one major title remains for the gymnastics ‘grand slam’, and the battle for pommel horse Olympic gold in three months’ time promises to be one of the highlights of the Paris Games.

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