Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Diarmuid Greene/SPORTSFILE
# teenage dreams
16-year-old Noelle Lenihan battles through injury to win Paralympic bronze
Another stellar day for Ireland in Rio as two medals are added to the total.

– Ryan Bailey reports from the Olympic Stadium, Rio de Janeiro 

A GOOD DAY has just got even better for Ireland in Rio after teenager Noelle Lenihan battled through a shoulder injury to claim a brilliant bronze on her Paralympic debut.

The 16-year-old from Cork came third in the F38 discus final, bringing Ireland’s medal tally for the Games to 11.

Lenihan, a World silver and European gold medallist in the last 12 months, recorded a throw of 31.71 metres to finish behind China’s Mi Na and home favourite Shirlene Coelho.

Having had to wait until the penultimate day of the Games to compete, Lenihan showed no nerves under the Olympic Stadium lights with an accomplished performance. Her effort was just 43 centimetres off her personal best.

Once her final position was confirmed, the Charleville teen picked out the Irish support in the crowd and celebrated with the tricolour to cap off a brilliant few days for the discus team.

“I feel amazing, to go to my first Paralympics and come out of it a medallist is beyond what I ever thought of,” she said.

“My first throw wasn’t far off my PB which was great, and my throws were very consistent today which I was very happy with. Not many people at 16 can say they have a Paralympic medal – it’s incredible.”

Rio 2016 Paralympic Games - Day 10 Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

Rio 2016 Paralympic Games - Day 10 Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

Both Niamh McCarthy and Orla Barry won silver in their respective events on Wednesday and Lenihan’s medal now means Ireland lie 28th in the overall table.

After fulfilling her media obligations, Lenihan was going straight into the changing area to call home, where her father, Jim, was watching on nervously.

He has played such an influential role in her fledging career after first introducing his daughter — one of seven children — to the sport at North Cork Athletics Club a couple of years ago.

“This is for him,” she said. “I want to thank him so much for what he has done for me. We are a team.”

Lenihan’s bronze follows the silver won by cyclists Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal in the Road Race earlier in the day.

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