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Hard luck Rhys McClenaghan finishes seventh after slip during pommel horse routine

The 22-year Newtownards native was the youngest of the eight finalists and finished seventh overall with a score of 13.1 consisting of 6.4 for degree of difficulty for 6.7 for his execution.

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Rhys McClenaghan of Ireland slips during his routine on the pommel horse during the Tokyo Olympics. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Rhys McClenaghan of Ireland slips during his routine on the pommel horse during the Tokyo Olympics. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Rhys McClenaghan of Ireland slips during his routine on the pommel horse during the Tokyo Olympics. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan has finished out of the medals in the pommel horse final at the Tokyo Olympics.

He lost control after just ten seconds of his 50 seconds routine and was forced to re-start it which effectively scuppered his chances of a podium finish.

The 22-year Newtownards native was the youngest of the eight finalists and finished seventh overall with a score of 13.1 consisting of 6.4 for degree of difficulty for 6.7 for his execution.

This is the second successive competition that McClenaghan has come off the pommel horse.

He looked poised to be in the medals at the European championships earlier this year but fell off as well.

Defending British Olympic champion Max Whitlock was the first to do his routine and he set an exceptionally high standard with a score of 15.58 which ultimately proved a winning one.

Speaking to RTÉ in the immediate aftermath, McClenaghan gave a hugely impressive interview.

"I know that I’ll feel disappointment with this performance but that’s ok, I feel like when I do feel disappointment, that’s when I’m more motivated than ever, I’m more hungry than ever.

"I’m definitely the type of person to turn a negative into a positive and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to leave this arena with this incredible experience, becoming an Olympian, becoming first Irish gymnast to be an Olympic finalist and that is something very special to me.

“I will be more hungry. This is a very early chapter in my gymnastics career. It didn’t go my way today. One finger placement is all it took for me to knock me off the horse. That’s the finest margins that are in this game.

“I know I’ll come back a way better gymnast, a way better man."

Speaking to media in Tokyo afterwards, he added:

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"I was disappointed with my performance today. It could have gone a lot better of course, just that one finger got caught under the handle.

"That one finger got caught, and that’s the finest of margins in gymnastics, where that one finger placement wrong can throw you off course. It’s the beauty of the sport as well, the fact that it makes it so exciting. I’m excited to get back out there and just be better than ever.

"I want to continue to raise the bar, be the first in a lot more things. Break down those barriers for the younger generation coming through, behind me, and surpass my achievements hopefully.

"That’s one of the main reasons I’m doing this sport, I’m proud to be here and proud to be an Olympian."

More to follow...

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