Seventeen-years-old Lisburn gymnast Ewan McAteer has been crowned British Champion after claiming gold on vault at the Men’s Masters Gymnastics Championships which took place in the Echo Arena Liverpool.
The Methodist College ‘A’ Level Student, who is still a junior competitor, qualified for the prestigious finals as a result of his performance in the junior competition.
And in front of a packed audience of 7,000 spectators, and against an international field, the Salto City of Lisburn member performed a Tsukahara two and a half twist and a Kasamatsu double twist vault to post a very impressive winning score of 14.325.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have won the Gold on Vault,” said Ewan, “There was a lot of pressure on the day – The Echo Arena was packed, British Gymnastics were streaming the event live, and I was up against the six best vaulters in Britain and one from Jamaica.
“As my coach had advised me, it is all about holding your nerve, focusing on my landings and not watching what my other competitors were doing. I went for higher difficulty tariffs in my vaults and thankfully it paid off.”
“I’d like to thank everyone who supported me throughout the year: my coach Wajdi Bouallegue, my school Methody, my club Salto, The Mary Peters Trust, OCS, Coca Cola and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.”
Following his success the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Brian Bloomfield, MBE, Mayoress and Dame Mary Peters, CH DBE, met with Ewan.
“The talent and skill that Ewan is displaying at such a young age is incredible and is a credit to him, his family and the many people and organisations involved in his training,” said Mayor Bloomfield.
“Achieving gold and becoming British Champion is a great accolade and one that’s deserved. He is a shining example to the sporting youth of our council area and I look forward to following his career and how it progresses.”
This achievement marks a significant moment for Northern Ireland gymnastics as it is the first time a N.I. gymnast has taken Gold at this prestigious event.
In last year’s event, Ewan had claimed a bronze on vault but this year saw off competition from senior Team GB gymnasts to clinch his dream victory.
This result is the latest in a line of excellent performances by McAteer who also posted the highest vault score in the Senior Scottish Gymnastics Championships in Perth earlier this month.
Ewan’s next target will be selection to the N.I. Team who are to travel to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia.
Another local success was also achieved by Salto’s Patrick Quinlivan, who took a bronze medal in the Men’s Disability Masters competition.