Mitch Christiansen out of the blocks in the 200m event.
Mitch Christiansen out of the blocks in the 200m event.

Sports stars step up for March awards

SPORTS STAR: Two Grafton athletes who had achieved high representative honours have taken out this month's Sportsperson of the Month Award.

Athlete Mitch Christiansen has won the senior sportsperson award after a stellar performance at the NSW Athletics Para Championships.

The haul of silver in 100m, 200m and long jump T37 classification allowed him to progress to his first international competition in Fiji, of which the status is unknown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Christiansen said his 200m time of 28.65 was just shy of his personal best of 26.64, and his 100m time of 13.33 was less than half a per cent less off the gold medal.

"I haven't competed in long jump for about seven years so to get a silver in that was exciting," he said.

"I made a distance of 4.03m in my best jump, and I think I would have cleared 5m if I had of jumped off the right board, there's a choice between two and I went off the front board but next time I think I can go off the back board.

Christiansen said previously that he was training hard to try and keep pushing his personal bests and improve his times and distance.

Mitch was a joint winner of the 2019 Grafton Shoppingworld People's Choice award with Ashleigh Ensbey, both receiving 22 per cent of the vote.

He was presented with the award by the Clarence Valley's own Paralympic gold medallist Rodney Nugent on the night.

The junior winner for March was Grafton High School swimmer Jack Leeson, who lit up the pool here and at representative carnivals.

Unfortunately due to the coronavirus pandemic, the state swimming championships which he qualified for in a massive 16 events have been cancelled.

Jack Leeson broke eight Grafton High School swimming records at this year’s swimming carnival.
Jack Leeson broke eight Grafton High School swimming records at this year’s swimming carnival.

Leeson also broke eight records at the Grafton High School swimming carnival, some of which were held by Ironman Nathan Meyer and National swimmer Glen Miller.

His coach at Grafton Swim Academy Alan Paterson said that Leeson showed potential that he hadn't seen for many years.

"I used to coach Nathan (Meyer) back in the '80s, and he was certainly a great swimmer and competitor, and so was Glen, but Jack is a standout," Paterson said.

"I'm sure he would have done well if he had the chance to compete in the championships, but the way he is breaking records now I think he has a great future in the sport"

The pair will be one of many nominees that will be in the running for The Daily Examiner Sports Star of the Year awards at the end of the year.

Nominations can be made by emailing sport@dailyexaminer.com.au.



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