An excellent sixth place finish for Ireland’s Kieran Behan on the Floors at the Visa Gymnastics International at the North Greenwich Arena (02) last night . The event also doubles up as the final Olympic Games qualifier. A total of 89 gymnasts competed here and in finishing in sixth place on the day, Kieran goes through to Thursday’s final.
A truly amazing feat when one considers the serious injuries Kieran has had to overcome in recent years as we outlined in previous articles about this Croydon-based athlete.
Proud parents Phil (from Dublin) and Bernie (from Monaghan) were here to see him qualify but like Kieran himself, and coach Simon Gale they had a long and anxious wait – after he had completed his routines – before they learnt that he had qualified for the finals.
Whilst waiting to hear the “good news” of his qualification, Kieran told the influential “Full Twist” website:
“I went for a clean performance but I made silly mistakes at the bars (parallel bars). But I am happy to be here, enjoying the experience and hoping to get into the floor final. My mum and dad are here.”
He had been understandably perhaps been a little nervous on the parallel bars but otherwise excelled throughout. Little wonder he pumped the air with joy at his routine came to an end.
“I was happy with the others but unhappy with the bars.”
For one who has had so many injuries, so much pain and suffering in the last twelve years, Kieran is hoping that his luck has changed and should he ‘come from nowhere’ (on the international scene) and qualify following Thursday’s finals then everyone in the world of gymnastics will salute this brave and courageous athlete. As he said to “Full Twist” :
“Hopefully my luck will change. This is only my second six piece (apparatus) in six years, due to injury. Tokyo was my first (at the world championships in October 2011).”
Many of the sports’ leading experts have been impressed by Behan, and not only here at the Test event but in recent months. Blythe Lawrence from the ‘Gymnastics Examiner’ for example commented : “Kieran Behan on Floor is just gorgeous. So much style. Keeps his head up, pours the polish on every element he does. It’s not that easy to make floor look that finessed given that he has a more muscular build, but he does a great job. He stands out for his precision, but also for his expression, his sharpness.”
Qualifiers for Final – Olympic Test Event
(Eight qualifiers – three reserves)
1. Daniel Purvis, GBR, 15.4
2. Tomas Gonzalez, CHI, 15.233
3. Kristian Thomas, GBR, 15.066
4. Gael da Silva, FRA, 14.975
5. Jossimar Calvo, COL, 14.866
6. Kieran Behan, IRL, 14.8
7. Angel Ramos, PUR, 14.8
8. Isaac Botella, ESP, 14.8
R1. Andrey Cherkasov, RUS, 14.8
R2. Luis Rivera, PUR, 14.733
R3. Arthur Mariano, BRA, 14.6