Rhys McClenaghan motivated every day by Olympic Games 'childhood dream'

Co Down gymnast Rhys McClenaghan has his sights set on completing the "childhood dream" of winning gold at the Paris Olympics.

The talented athlete is already a world, European and Commonwealth champion - now he's targeting the "only one missing from the collection".

"Olympic gold - that's the hope," Rhys told UTV Life.

"My goal for this year is to go to world championships, hopefully retain my world title and then qualify for the Paris Olympic Games.

"Hopefully in the next couple of years I can say I'm an Olympic champion."

Rhys is basing his training from Newtownards at the Origin gymnastics centre, a new state-of-the art facility opened by his coach and former gymnast Luke Carson.

"The more people that do gymnastics the better," Luke said.

"That's our belief - we believe gymnastics really is the origin of sport, so the whole ethos is to try and get as many people to do gymnastics."

Rhys, who recently won a second European gold medal, says he believes the support local athletes receive helps Northern Ireland punch above its weight in sport.

"That's maybe what sets us as a nation apart from the rest of the world," he said.

"The support from the community, our predecessors like Mary Peters, somebody like Luke who was a gymnast before who I looked up to and is now my coach, it's something that goes around very quickly in this country and I'm glad that support is here."

He continued: "There's only one missing from the collection now.

"It's what motivates me to go into the gym every day wanting to place on that Olympic Games podium, it's a childhood dream."

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