Meg Ryan balances study and gymnastics with Olympics on the horizon

Coach Emma Hamill will also be part of the Irish team in Switzerland for the 2021 Euros
Meg Ryan balances study and gymnastics with Olympics on the horizon

Team Ireland's Meg Ryan, Douglas Gymnastics Club, one of four gymnasts taking part in the European Championships in Artistic Gymnastics in Basel this week. Picture: Eóin Noonan

GYMNASTICS Ireland has announced their team for the 2021 European Championships in Artistic Gymnastics which will take place in Basel, Switzerland from this Wednesday until Sunday.

There was good news for Cork gymnast, Meg Ryan, who is one of only four gymnasts on the team. Meg, a member of Douglas Gymnastics Club, has already qualified as the first reserve for the Olympics.

Basically, this means that if any gymnast can’t travel Meg will be invited to take part.

She may not get confirmation until June on this, but it is highly likely that Meg will get to travel and this event will be ideal preparation ahead of them. But ahead of the Olympics Meg has plenty on her mind other than gymnastics as she is doing the Leaving Cert and is currently combining study and training.

Meg will be determined to do well at Basel and it will give her and the other Irish gymnasts an indication of how they are progressing. Joining Meg on the team are Emma Slevin, Adam Steele, and Rhys McClenaghan.

Meg Ryan, a quarterly winner in The Echo Women in Sport awards, in association with The Cork Airport Hotel, in 2019. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Meg Ryan, a quarterly winner in The Echo Women in Sport awards, in association with The Cork Airport Hotel, in 2019. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

They will be accompanied by coaches Emma Hamill, Sally Batley, Luke Carson and Will Banthorpe. Emma is a member of the Douglas Gymnastics coaching team and has been Meg’s coach for a number of years.

But this is the first time Emma has been given the opportunity to a major event with Meg and she is delighted with the opportunity to do so.

“It’s an honour to go to the European championships as part of the Irish coaching team and I am looking forward to the experience.

It’s going to be a great week of competition and both Meg and I are delighted to be back in competitive action. 

"Her last competition was in 2019 when she qualified as first reserve as the Olympics and hopefully Meg can build on that success this week."

Meg said she is looking forward to the competition and that it’s great to be back competing again at international level.

The Douglas club will also be keeping an extra eye on Steele.

He is a registered member of the club and when competing in national competitions does so under their banner. But he is currently training in England and will continue to do so.

Speaking on behalf of Douglas Gymnastics Club, Rachel Gash said: “As one of Ireland’s top gymnasts, Meg has been representing her country with great distinction over the last number of years.

“It will be absolutely fantastic to see her back in action again and mixing it with some of the best gymnasts in the world. Throughout what has been an extremely challenging 12 months, Meg’s commitment to training has been second to none and her selection for the Europeans is entirely deserved.

“The great news for gymnastics fans is that we will be able to tune into all of the action either online or on TV. On behalf of everyone at Douglas Gymnastics Club, we wish Meg and the rest of the Irish team – Emma, Adam and Rhys the very best of luck in Basel.”

Adam Steele. Picture: Ramsey Cardy
Adam Steele. Picture: Ramsey Cardy

Commenting on the team announcement Gymnastics Ireland CEO Ciarán Gallagher said: “After what has been a very difficult year it is great to see Irish gymnasts preparing to depart for international competition once again.

“The 2021 Europeans will be a championship operated under tight Covid-19 protocols developed through working together with our partners in European Gymnastics and Sport Ireland in the interests of protecting our team members as best possible.

“As the final Tokyo 2021 qualifier and a crucial Olympic Games preparation event gymnastics fans will be guaranteed a top-level sports entertainment experience. We wish all our team members the best of luck in their final preparations as they prepare to depart for Switzerland.”

As part of the new European Gymnastics free-to-air deal with Eurovision Sport the event is due to be given covered by RTÉ with qualifications available to watch via RTÉ player and the finals later in the week on RTÉ2.

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