Cork’s Noelle Lenihan has added to Ireland’s medal collection at the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Athletics European Championships this evening, when she secured a gold medal and set a new World Record in the F38 Discus final.
Noelle set the new World Record on her very first attempt, when she threw a whopping 32.14m – a throw that put her straight to the top of the table and eventually won her the gold medal.
Speaking about the fantastic performance, National Throws Coach Dave Sweeney said: “She did great, and we’re really happy. She was very controlled, and to be honest, she has been throwing further than that the last few days in training so she’s a little bit disappointed that she didn’t throw further today! There was a tricky wind, which blew a lot of the discs down so it was a fantastic for her to throw so well in those conditions.”
“This is a really big step in her career – to break a World Record and win a European Championships in one go and to then be a little bit unhappy with the performance is the sign of a good mindset and a sign of more exciting things to come in Rio!
“She will come away from today having learned a lot, she had very good competition there so she was pushed to the very end and we’re delighted for her.”
This was Ireland’s second medal of the Championships, following on from Deirdre Mongan’s bronze medal on Day 1 (Saturday, June 11th) in the F53/54 Shot Put final.
Elsewhere, it was a day of mixed fortunes for the two other Irish athletes in action – Conor McIlveen and Heather Jameson. McIlveen took to the track early this morning in the T38 1,500m final where he finished sixth in a hugely fast-paced race in a time of 4.45.89 in hot and humid conditions. The race was won by French athlete Louis Radius in a time of 4.20.01.
Speaking after Conor’s race, Para-Athletics Team Manager James Nolan said: “Conor ran tactically very well. He didn’t get carried away with the blistering pace set by the French athlete. He was aware that the majority of his competitors had faster Personal Best times and his target was to pick off the guys who had gone out too hard. He achieved this goal, finishing very strong in the home straight.
Things didn’t go so well later in the day for Heather Jameson however, as she received a NM (no mark) in the T37 Long Jump final following foul jumps.
Day 3 meanwhile (Monday, June 13th) will see Cork’s Orla Barry hoping to bring a medal back to the Emerald Isle when she contests the F57 Discus final.
A full schedule for the Irish team for the coming week is available here.
The Irish athletics team is proudly sponsored by Allianz,, an official sponsor of Paralympics Ireland.