Fifteen-year-old Noelle Lenihan completed a stunning debut in a major championship as she won the silver medal in the discus at the Paralympic Games in Doha.
The teenager from Charleville in Co Cork threw a lifetime best and F38 world record of 31.64 metres with her second effort to finish in second spot behind reigning F37 Paralympic champion Na Mi of China, who took gold with a winning mark of 33.59 metres.
Reacting to her medal win, Lenihan said: “I got a PB, world record and silver medal in my first major championship. 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 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 Lenihan'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 15 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, with four Irish athletes in action. Throwers Orla Barry and Deirdre Mongan are out first in the morning session in their respective finals; F57 Discus and F53 Shot Putt.
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, take part in the final of the F40 Shot Putt.