Fifteen year old Noelle Lenihan from Charleville in Co. Cork has sensationally won discus silver at the IPC Paralympic Athletics World Championships in Doha today.
The teenager, who was making her major Championship debut showed an absence of anticipated nerves in recording a lifetime best throw of 30.68metres with her very first attempt. 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.
Reacting to her medal win Lenihan said: “I got a PB, world record and silver medal in my first major championship. I turn sixteen in a few days time so naturally I’m going to gain more experience and improve my explosive power which can only results in further improvement. But for today I’m delighted! My Dad, who’s 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: “I can’t believe how well Noelle handled the pressure of competing at this level. She was like a seasoned pro. Even after breaking the world record she remained focused on the small details that we agreed would make her throw well. At fifteen years old she has an incredible future in this sport. Hopefully they’ll have some great celebrations in North Cork Athletics club!”
Tomorrow is set to be the busiest day for the Irish team in Doha; four Irish athletes are in action. Throwers Orla Barry and Deirdre Mongan are out first in the morning session in their respective finals; F57 Discus and F53 Shot Put. In the evening session three time Paralympian wheelchair racer John McCarthy will line up in the heats of the T51m 100m hoping to advance to the final. Another major championship debutant Waterford’s Hayley Fitzsimons in the final of the F40 Shot Put keen to gain valuable experience at this level.