McClenaghan safely into European final in Italy

Rhys McClenaghan is safely into the European Pommel Horse Final
Rhys McClenaghan will be favourite to retain his European Pommel Horse title [Getty Images]

Rhys McClenaghan is safely through to the pommel horse final at the European Championships in Rimini, Italy.

The Ards gymnast, who is seeking a third Continental title, performed a relatively clean routine in qualification.

McClenaghan scored 15.133 to qualify in second place for Friday's final.

Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev led the way with a score of 15.166.

McClenaghan is defending the title he won in Antalya twelve months ago having previously clinched gold for the first time in Glasgow in 2018.

This is McClenaghan's last scheduled competition before he takes to the stage at the Bercy Arena in Paris at the Olympics in July.

After winning the past two World Championships, he is looking to head to the Games by claiming the past two European titles as well.

The signs are positive that McClenaghan is rounding into his best form.

After failing to make the final in the World Cup in Baku in March he returned a score of 15.233 last week in Doha to finish in third place.

Another podium this week would certainly boost his confidence before he begins his final preparations for the Olympic Games.