Noelle Lenihan captures Ireland’s 11th medal with bronze in F38 Discus

The 16-year-old set a Paralympic record for her classification

Noelle Lenihan of Ireland celebrates winning bronze after the F38 Discus Final at the Olympic Stadium during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Noelle Lenihan of Ireland celebrates winning bronze after the F38 Discus Final at the Olympic Stadium during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

 

Noelle Lenihan, the second youngest member of the Ireland Paralympics team at 16 years of age, won a bronze medal at the Olympic stadium in Rio tonight in the F38 Discus final and in the process set a Paralympic record for her classification. It is Ireland’s 11th medal of the Games.

The gold medal winner, China’s Na Mi – she threw a world record – is categorised as F37 as is the silver medallist, Brazil’s Shirlene Coelho.

It was a brilliant effort from the Charleville teenager, who had to deal with waiting until the second last day of the Games for her event. Whatever nerves she had, she mastered, and her throw of 31.71 was just 43 centimetres adrift of her personal best.

One of seven children – she has five sisters Siobhan, Elizabeth, Sharon, her twin Eimear, Megan and a brother, James – her family were very involved in sports and one of those was athletics in North Cork athletic club.

The first person she’s likely to ring is her father and coach, Jim. He wanted his daughter to have the same outlet that his other children had in the local athletic club and in the absence of a throwing coach, he went and acquired the expertise.

It was an unconsciously selfless act between a father and daughter without a single thought of what might transpire. On a Saturday night in Rio it carried an even greater resonance.

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