Commonwealth Games: Rhys McClenaghan beats Max Whitlock to pommel gold

Rhys McClenaghan
Rhys McClenaghan qualified second behind Max Whitlock before beating him to gold in the pommel final
2018 Commonwealth Games
Venue: Gold Coast, Australia Dates: 4-15 April
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with extra streams on Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and app; listen on Radio 5 live; follow text updates online. Times and channels

Northern Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan beat England’s Max Whitlock to win his country’s first medal of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the pommel horse.

The two finished with scores of 15.100, but 18-year-old McClenaghan took gold over the Olympic champion thanks to better execution.

Zachary Clay of Canada won the bronze.

Commonwealth Games: Rhys McClenaghan beats Max Whitlock to pommel gold
Commonwealth Games: Rhys McClenaghan beats Max Whitlock to pommel gold

Whitlock, who helped England to team gold on Thursday, began his day with a sixth-placed finish on the floor as Scotland’s Dan Purvis won bronze.

Marios Georgiou of Cyprus took the floor title with a score of 13.966 with Canada’s Scott Morgan winning the silver medal.

Olympic bronze medallist Purvis, 27, scored 13.733 as he won his second medal of the Games following a bronze in Thursday’s team final.

His team-mate Hamish Carter came fourth, with all-around champion Nile Wilson in last place.

Scott Morgan, Marios Georgiou and Daniel Purvis
Daniel Purvis (right) won gold four years ago on the parallel bars in Glasgow

It was a poor start to the day for England’s gymnasts, who have been dominant until this point on the Gold Coast.

Wilson looked tired after his efforts to win gold in the all-around on the floor, while Whitlock’s decision to sit out that event in favour of the floor and pommel finals may now be questioned.

The Olympic champion on the floor and pommel made one major mistake in his floor routine, before he was edged out by McClenaghan on his second apparatus of the day.

Instead, it was Scot Purvis who impressed for the home nations on the floor while McClenaghan’s execution of 8.600 meant he saw off 25-year-old Whitlock (8.300).

McClenaghan described his gold medal triumph as “a huge result for me”.

“Max has been my idol growing up and I’ve been watching him since 2010 when he was competing in the Delhi Commonwealths,” said the 18-year-old.

“I’ve always felt though that one day I could be up there with the best and beating them.”

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