Ellis O’Reilly has become the first Irish female gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games.
The 18-year-old won a place at the 2016 Rio Olympics Games through her performance at the Aquecce Rio Test Event on April 17. The final qualifying event was held at the HSBC Barra Olympic Arena in Rio.
She joins Irish male gymnast Kieran Behan, who also qualified for the Rio 2016 games, the Irish Independent reports.
Behan became the second male Irish gymnast to ever qualify for the Olympics in 2012. Barry McDonald was the first qualifying Irish gymnast, at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
O’Reilly trains out of the Europa Gymnastics club in London and is coached by Sam James.
“Ellis has made history for Gymnastics Ireland by qualifying to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games,” said Ciaran Gallagher, Gymnastics Ireland CEO.
"This is a huge step forward for our women's programme and in becoming the first Irish female gymnast to qualify to an Olympic Games Ellis' achievement will serve to inspire to all the young up and coming Irish gymnasts who will want to follow in her footsteps.
"The focus for Ellis and coach Sam James now shifts to the summer Games where she will join Kieran Behan in flying the Irish flag at the most prestigious competition in our sport.
"It was an ambitious target set by Sally Filmer, our Performance & Technical Manager, four years ago to qualify one male and one female gymnast to Rio but today it is a target achieved. On behalf of our organisation I would like to congratulate Ellis and Kieran on this great achievement."
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, also congratulated O’Reilly on her achievement.
Cannot believe that I have just qualified for the 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES ! I AM NOW OFFICIALLY AN OLYMPIAN ! ������������������ pic.twitter.com/GkfbKeezDH— Ellis O'Reilly (@EllisOReilly1) April 18, 2016
"I would like to congratulate Ellis on her wonderful performance at the gymnastics qualifier in Rio this morning and in the process becoming the first ever Irish female gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Games,” said Ring.
“It was the final qualifying event for the Games so it makes Ellis’ achievement all the more remarkable. It is a huge boost to Irish gymnastics and hopefully will inspire more girls to take up the sport and try to follow in Ellis’ footsteps.
“I am sure Ellis’ coach, Sam James, and everyone at the Europa Gymnastics Club in London and all her family and friends are immensely proud of her historic achievement.
“It was a fantastic weekend all round for Gymnastics Ireland with Kieran Behan also qualifying for Rio on Saturday and I would like to congratulate the CEO, Ciaran Gallagher, and everyone in the organisation on this success. It is a magnificent achievement for Gymnastics Ireland to have two gymnasts representing Ireland in Rio this summer.”