Cullybackey College Crest
  • Principal:
  • Mr D Donaldson
  • B.Ed., M.Ed., P.Q.H.

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Commonwealth Baton honour for gymnast Rachael

Click to enlargeCullybackey College pupil Rachael Murdock was honoured to be an official baton bearer on the Commonwealth Games Baton Relay around Northern Ireland. She carried out the duty in Coleraine, where she is a member of Valdez Gymnastics Club.

It is the latest accolade for the 14-year-old Cullybackey College pupil, who was a relatively late starter to the sport at the age of eight.

After her potential was spotted by coach Karen Bailie at the Seven Towers Leisure Centre, who recommended she attend the Valdez Club for further development and she now trains 20 hours per week, with her parents Alan and Lisa accompanying her to Coleraine four or five days per week.

Her coach Julie Vauls of Valdez Gymnastics Club says: "We started Rachael competing at the General Gymnastics competitions and she was coming home with several gold medals each time and we realised then she had the ability, focus and the support of her family to train for the more elite discipline of Women’s Artistic Gymnastics."

In her first competition at the new level, the Tony Byrne Cup in 2012, she was overall champion at level 4 and she gradually progressed through the ranks to level two, where she was crowned NI champion and brought home five gold medals.

In the Tony Byrne Cup in 2013, Rachael found herself competing at Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) level among Northern Ireland’s top gymnasts and Commonwealth Games hopefuls where she produced an outstanding performance to come home with a silver on vault, bronze on floor, bars and beam and a bronze overall.

She was also named Young Sportswoman of the Year at the Coleraine Borough Council Sports Awards and has also been nominated by her school for the Services to Sport award at the Ballymena Youth Awards.

Rachael Murdock Gymnastics Success

Click to enlargeOn Sunday 24th February Rachael Murdock (9A1) competed in The Northern Ireland Gymnastics Championships.

She finished 1st overall with a score of 36.3, just short of the 37 points required to compete internationally in the sport. Rachael also won each of her disciplines (beam, uneven bars, vault and floor). An outstanding performance, congratulations Rachael!

Rachael also competed in the "Tony Byrne Cup" (June 2013). This prestigious cup is for all competitors in NI. She achieved Silver in the Vault and Bronze in the Beam, Bars and the Floor. Overall she was awarded a Bronze - well done Rachael.