Noelle Lenihan of Ireland competes in the women's discus F38 final at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Noelle Lenihan


The Irish thrower was only 15-years-old when she became a world silver medallist and world record holder at the Doha 2015 World Championships.

Lenihan had made her international debut at the Berlin Grand Prix in Germany only a few months earlier, but she held her own in a highly competitive field with a best of 31.64m to take silver behind China’s F37 thrower Mi Na.

Lenihan warmed up for her first Paralympic Games by winning the 2016 European title in Grosseto, Italy. Her gold medal winning throw of 32.14m was a new world record.

In Rio, the youngster won Paralympic bronze with a best throw of 31.71m despite suffering a shoulder injury in the build up to the competition.

Following Rio, she was named Young Paralympian of the 2016 Paralympic Games by Paralympics Ireland.

In 2017 Lenihan balanced finishing school and securing a place at University with preparing for the London 2017 World Championships.

She clinched discus F38 silver behind Mi Na with a championship record throw of 32.12m - just 2cm shy of her own world record.

Lenihan comes from a sporting family – she was coached by her father Jim; her brothers and sisters have participated in athletics or camogie (and Irish women’s stick and ball game) to a highly competitive level.


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Cerebral Palsy
Origin of Impairment
T38, F38

Further personal information

Cork, IRL
Athlete, Student
Higher education
Criminology, Sociology - Maynooth University: Ireland

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up Para athletics at North Cork Athletics Club in Ireland.
Why this sport?
Her father qualified as an athletics coach so that he could train her.

International debut

Competing for
Grand Prix
Berlin, GER

General interest

Reading. (, 07 Jul 2017)
Most influential person in career
Her father Jim Lenihan. (, 18 Sep 2016)
She suffered from a shoulder injury while at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She was still able to compete and won bronze in the F38 discus. (, 18 Sep 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Throw me to the wolves and I'll return leading the pack." (Instagram profile, 09 Sep 2015)
Awards and honours
Paralympics Ireland named her Young Paralympian of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (, 03 Dec 2016)

She received the 2016 Senior Female Athlete of the Year award from Hazelwood College in Cork, Ireland. (Twitter profile, 16 May 2017)

She received the Achievement Award at the 2015 Munster Star Awards in Ireland. (, 2016)
Famous relatives
Her father Jim Lenihan has served as throws coach at North Cork Athletics Club in Ireland. Her eldest sister Siobhan participated in middle distance running for Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, AR, United States of America, while her other sisters Megan and Eimear have both competed in athletics at national level. (, 08 Sep 2016;, 20 May 2014)
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 29 Oct 2016)
She was born prematurely at 27 weeks, which resulted in cerebral palsy. The condition affects the left side of her body. (, 08 Sep 2016)


Unit Date Rank
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Discus Throw F38 Final 1 2015-10-26 2
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Discus Throw F38 Final Round 2016-09-17 3
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Discus Throw F38 Final 1 2017-07-20 2