Behan becomes first Irish Gymnast to reach European final

Updated: May 26, 2012
Kieran Behan

Another magnificent performance from gymnast Kieran Behan yesterday saw him secured his place in the European Championships Floor final at the Park & Suites Arena in Montellier, France.

It was the first time that an Irish gymnast has reached a European Championships final and he can now look forward with confidence to Sunday’s final albeit he competes against Europe’s finest athletes. Behan scored 15.265 on Floor to qualify for Finals in 3rd position.

The 23 year old, based in Croydon and who trains with several other Irish gymnasts at the Tolworth Club, had recovered from a series of serious injuries and illnesses in recent years to qualify for the
Olympics earlier this year. His courage has captured the hearts of the nation, and beyond, with his inspirational journey to secure Olympic qualification. He performed third on the Floor yesterday
morning, securing the top position ahead of two World Floor Champions, until later in the evening when he shifted from first to third.

Behan said: “I am thrilled with the team’s performance today; this was Ireland’s best performance at a European Championships in many years. In terms of my performance, I am very happy, it is an incredible result to have qualified in third position and to have held first place for so long. It was an anxious wait to see the final qualification result but the outcome is fantastic. It’s been a great
European Championships so far. I plan to go out on Sunday and nail my routine with style.”

Gymnastics Ireland Performance and Technical Manager, Sally Filmer, and Head of Delegation said: “Kieran has made great strides over the last two years in particular. Becoming a World Cup Floor Champion firmly set his position on the international scene alight. Once again today, Kieran delivered for our sport in Ireland, backed by a fantastic senior team who were great sports supporting him and who have worked extremely well together over the past couple of months. Kieran’s performance today was elegant, showing unique style and confidence. Competing well at European’s has been part of our plan and in particular in the build-up to the Olympic Games in July. Overall, the team’s performance was fantastic, showing that our hard work is coming together as we competed well on the European front today”

Senior Gymnastics Ireland Team Coach and personal Coach to Kieran, Darren Gerrard said: “Kieran performed superbly today, to begin a competition in such style was an incredible opening and a great start to the day. It was a long agonising wait but well worth it in the end. We are extremely proud of Kieran’s performance and couldn’t have asked for more.”

Kieran will compete on floor on Sunday afternoon, during the first event final of the day. He has been drawn seventh to compete out of eight competitors, a position which he is more than happy with.

Gymnastics Ireland President, Ger Rellis, said: “its great Kieran has made Finals and a validation of is hard work ahead of the Olympics It was a superb performance; the first Irish Athlete to make the Finals. We wish him all the best of luck. Terrific.”

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