Rhys McClenaghan won European Gold in Pommel Horse Event at Turkey

Rhys McClenaghan won European Gold in Pommel Horse Event at Turkey

Rhys McClenaghan won the gold medal in the pommel horse event at the 2023 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antalya, Turkey.

The current world champion has won two gold medals at the European Championships after emerging victorious in Glasgow in 2018.

McClenaghan started the competition off with a score of 14.666, 0.3 lower than his qualifying score, so he faced a nervous wait to see if anyone could beat him.

He provided a strong performance but had a slight leg separation right before his dismount which reduced his score.

The Irishman had one of the highest difficulty scores among the finalists and he demonstrated total domination of his performance with his strength and timing. His performance was truly exceptional.

Maxime Gentges came in second place at the European final, with a score of 14.566. Unfortunately, a late misbalance kept him from overtaking McClenaghan for first place, but he still won the silver medal.

Third onto the pommel horse was Armenia’s Artur Davtyan whose execution was excellent but knew that his medal hopes would be hampered by his difficulty score (5.7). With a score of 14.266, it looked like he might miss out, but ultimately his score was good enough for bronze meaning that the first three competitors ultimately finished first, second and third.

Matvei Petrov of Albania, the 2020 European champion, was fourth to mount their horse and had high expectations of taking a medal after placing third in qualifying.

However, Petrov's medal hopes were dashed when he lost his balance and dismounted early in his routine. He bravely returned to the horse and finished his routine, but with a deduction for the unintentional dismount, his score of 13.266 left him out of contention.

The second half of the final began with Loran De Munck, who was second in qualifying with a score of 14.666 - the same tally as McClenaghan's in the final.

The Netherlands athlete, however, had a big leg separation early on, and although he covered all three areas of the horse, his untidy leg work saw him post a score of 14.266.

Despite finishing fourth in qualification, he was unable to get within 14.233 points of the leader - resulting in a gold medal for McClenaghan.