Rhys McClenaghan: Commonwealth champion excited by return to national centre

Rhys McClenaghan
Rhys McClenaghan won two major gold medals within four months two years ago

Rhys McClenaghan says he "feels like a kid" as the Commonwealth champion resumes training at the National Gymnastics Centre in Dublin.

The 20-year-old trained at his Newtownards home for three months because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

"it's great to be back, it really is and I'm excited to get back into the way of things," said McClenaghan.

"This is a gymnastics specific facility and it caters for all my needs to prepare for my next competition."

He added: "I feel like a kid walking through those doors again. I'll get a little bit fitter than I am now although I trained during the lockdown.

"It's now quite a fun time to be training because I don't have any competitions immediately coming up so I can work on new skills, I can work on upgrading my routine and in gymnastics that's one of the most exciting parts about of the sport,"

Double gold

McClenaghan secured pommel horse gold as a teenager at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast before becoming Ireland's first European champion in Glasgow four months later.

Retaining the European crown in December is the first target for McGlenaghan before aiming for the biggest prize of at the Tokyo Olympics next summer.

"The European Championships in Baku is the first one I've got my eyes set on - I want to retain that title I won in 2018 so I'm excited for that.

"It's a great thing to have self-confidence. Its something that I thrive off, something that motivates me to train, knowing that I've got that end goal of getting that Olympic gold medal, that's in my mind when I'm training.

"Not necessarily in competition because I'm focusing on my job, on my routine and everyone else's job is out of my control.

"But in training I use that Olympic gold medal to motivate me and it does."

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