Lisburn gymnast targets Europeans after British bronze

Ewan McAteer won the bronze medal on vault at the 2016 British Championships.
Ewan McAteer won the bronze medal on vault at the 2016 British Championships.

Lisburn gymnast Ewan McAteer’s GCSE exams will be a little more exciting than most.

The Methody pupil is just back after claiming bronze on vault at the 2016 British Championships in Liverpool last weekend, and already has his sights set on the Junior European Championships.

Those take place in Bern at the end of May and look likely to mean McAteer will sit some of his exams inside the Swiss city’s British Embassy.

Balancing revision and tournament preparation will be a tough act but the Salto gymnast is eyeing a place in the European final. He has taken plenty of confidence from a top performance in Liverpool, where he mixed it with the best in Britain.

Ewan saw off the other under 18 competitors to qualify for the Masters final on Sunday, alongside the top eight vault gymnasts across all age groups including the seniors. That put him up against the likes of two-time Olympic medallist Christian Thomas and current Youth Olympic and European Junior champion Giarni Regini Moran.

Ewan, however, proved he was far from out of place, claiming a coveted bronze medal with two well-executed vaults.

“I am super proud of him,” said coach and two-time Olympian Wajdi Bouallegue.

“I can say that his score average left Ewan one of the best gymnasts in the world in his age category on vault. His potential is so high and our dream is getting bigger and bigger, especially after such a success.

“Ewan was impressive, at only 16 years of age and recovering from an injury only three weeks ago. He worked very hard to prepare two new high performance vaults and trained throughout the Easter holidays without a break.

“We are all delighted with Ewan’s performance. In the Masters final, he performed two excellent vaults and at only age 16, he won the prestigious bronze medal behind Giarni Regini Moran and Dominick Cunningham.

“Ewan was congratulated by many of the coaches and high level gymnasts at the event for his great achievement. He really showed a strong competition character.”

Meanwhile, Rhys McClenaghan, who is coached by Lisburn gymnast Luke Carson at Rathgael Gymnastics Club, also won a bronze medal on the pommel horse and will join Ewan in Bern next month.