Noelle, 15, earns a stunning silver at Paralympics

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

Champ: Noelle Lenihan, from Charleville, shows off her medal. Picture:Marcus Hartmann / SPORTSFILE
A LIFETIME best throw of 30.68 metres on her very first attempt in what was her major championship debut, saw Charleville teenager Noelle Lenihan go on to win discus silver at the IPC Paralympic Athletics World Championships.

A LIFETIME best throw of 30.68 metres on her very first attempt in what was her major championship debut, saw Charleville teenager Noelle Lenihan go on to win discus silver at the IPC Paralympic Athletics World Championships.

Impressively, she followed this up with another massive lifetime best and new F38 world record of 31.64m with her second throw. This mark was the best of her six attempts and secured her the much coveted silver medal behind F37 reigning paralympic champion Na Mi of China with a winning mark of 33.59m. Renee-Danielle Foessel took bronze with 30.39m.

“I got a PB, world record and silver medal in my first major championship,” said Noelle who is competing in Doha, Qatar.

“I turn 16 in a few days time so, naturally, I’m going to gain more experience and improve my explosive power which can only result in further improvement. But, for today, I’m delighted! My Dad, who is my coach, and my older siblings are all here in the crowd supporting me which is very special.”

Speaking about Noelle’s performance, Irish national paralympic throws coach Dave Sweeney said he couldn’t believe how well Noelle handled the pressure of competing at this level.

“She was like a seasoned pro,” he pointed out. “Even after breaking the world record she remained focused on the small details that we agreed would make her throw well. At 15 years old she has an incredible future in this sport. Hopefully, they’ll have some great celebrations in North Cork Athletic Club!”

The events on the paralympic programme include track events; road events - marathon, field events including high jump, long jump, triple jump, discus, shot put, and javelin; and combined events: pentathlon.