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After the all-around finals of the 2021 European Championships in Artistic Gymnastics, held in Basel (SUI), Kamran Ramazanov, CEO of our global partner SmartScoring, presented the SmartScoring Shooting Star award to Romanian star Larisa Iordache and Ireland’s trailblazer Rhys McClenaghan.
Romanian superstar, Larisa Iordache, won her first European senior titles in 2012 on floor and with her team and placed second and third all-around at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships respectively. After missing the 2016 Olympics, Iordache came back with a great shot at the World title in Montreal in 2017 only to sustain an Achilles’ injury during warm-up. This forced her on another long path to recovery with her future in the sport very much in doubt. Her first steps back in international competition came only 4 months ago at the Europeans in Mersin where she claimed the European gold on beam and floor, plus team and vault silver. Iordache came to Basel with her eyes on the prize: a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics. She had to place in the top two eligible athletes in the all-around qualifications. Even fever and a kidney infection couldn’t stop her from achieving her dream. With 16 European medals, the 24-year-old is the second most decorated gymnast at European level, trailing only the legendary Svetlana Khorkina. She couldn’t pick up her award but sent a Thank you message from hospital where she is currently treated for a kidney infection.
Rhys McClenaghan, still only 21, has been breaking barriers for Ireland for many years. He became the first Irish medallist at Europeans when he won silver in the junior pommel horse final in 2016. Two years later he broke through in the senior ranks too, winning the Commonwealth title on pommel horse. His preparation for the Europeans in Glasgow was interrupted by differences with his former club, forcing him to train in his back garden for a while. It didn’t stop him from writing history again, performing superbly and clinching the European title. At the 2019 World Championships, he won Ireland’s first World medal, a bronze on pommel horse, securing his participation at the Tokyo Olympics.
Started in 2018, this award aims to put a gymnast with an exceptional story in the spotlight, someone who is an inspiration for the future generation of gymnasts and the general public alike.