McClenaghan wins world gold as Whitlock finishes fifth

6 months ago 106

Ireland's Rhys McClenaghan retained the pommel horse title at the World Gymnastics Championships as Great Britain's Max Whitlock finished fifth.

McClenaghan's accomplished show earned him a score of 15.100 and the gold medal in Belgium.

Whitlock came off the apparatus during his performance but completed his routine and was awarded 14.300.

"It feels great," said McClenaghan. "It feels shocking hearing it, similar to the first time I got the world title."

The 24-year-old, from Newtownards, became Ireland's first gymnastics world champion when he won pommel horse gold in Liverpool last year.

He will aim for more success with Ireland at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

"I think that's what I am maybe most happy about, qualifying for the Olympics for a second time," added McClenaghan.

"It's incredible and a weight off my shoulders."

Whitlock is the Olympic champion in the pommel horse, having retained the title he won at Rio 2016 at the delayed Tokyo Games in 2021.

"I don't really know what to think. I'm gutted," said the 30-year-old after his performance at the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp.

"I was really ready for that, I felt confident.

"Scott [Hann, coach] just said to me the fall was a bit uncharacteristic. But it is what it is, there's nothing I can do about it. It's done now.

"It's just really hard. I suppose when it doesn't go to plan, it feels like the whole thing has gone so quick and you want to get up and do it again.

"I need to go back, take some time now, reflect with Scott and try again."

Simone Biles, who become the most decorated gymnast in history in winning women's all-round gold on Friday, had to settle for silver in the vault.

The American scored 14.549 but defending world and Olympic champion Rebeca Andrade won gold with 14.750.

Biles was fifth in the uneven bars with 14.200 as China's Qiu Qiyuan took gold with 15.100.

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