TEN PIN bowling and surf lifesaving feature in the Daily Examiner's Sportsperson of the Month for April.

Grafton's Shanita Clark is the Jetts Fitness Junior Sportsperson of the Month after she won the Australian Junior Masters title on April 26.

Clark has defied the odds in her rise to the top of bowling, having suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for most of her life.

BOWLED OVER: Shanita Clark - winner of the Australian Junior Masters tenpin bowling. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
BOWLED OVER: Shanita Clark - winner of the Australian Junior Masters tenpin bowling. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

She blitzed the country's most prestigious junior tournament on the national calendar, however, with an average of 177 points a game. Earlier she had won silver in the Classic Cup with an average of 179. Fellow Grafton bowler Rachel Pearce also attended the nationals and won a silver medal in the Scotch Doubles.

Coached by her father Ashley Clark, 16-year-old Shanita has bowling in her veins and her dedication is obvious - a familiar face on the local lanes and regularly travelling throughout the country for tournaments.

On May 23-24 she heads to Campbelltown to compete in the Sydney Youth Cup. On June 21-22, her 2014 commitments for the Grafton women's team in the Country Challenge begin, when the first round of the Northern Region Series takes place at Inverell.

Meanwhile, Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club's Peter Rheinberger is the Jetts Fitness April Senior Sportsperson for his efforts at the 2014 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, known as The Aussies, from March 31 to April 6.

Rheinberger finished 6th in the tube rescue , 7th in board race and 12th in the swim for men 50-54. He then won gold in the short and long board surfing events.

For being named a monthly winner, both athletes win a Jetts Fitness prize pack.

Jeff Skinner from Jetts Fitness in Grafton was proud to be a supporter of the Daily Examiner's revival of sports awards to recognise homegrown talent.

"We are keen to support any athlete who is dedicated to their sport, in whatever direction they go in," Skinner said.

"It's fantastic what the Daily Examiner is doing to get behind the achievements of our local athletes."

While there are just two winners each month (junior and senior), the 20 winners across the 10 months will be split into four categories as the nominees for Clarence Valley Sportsperson of the Year.

Junior male and female, senior and masters categories will be all represented at the awards supported by Grafton Shoppingworld in November.

Clark joins the likes of cricketer Carly Leeson (January), hockey player Sarah Donnolley (February) and Samantha Kerr (March), an all-rounder who has excelled in touch football and athletics, as nominees for Clarence Valley Junior Female Sportsperson of the Year.

Rheinberger will be up against fellow Clarence Valley Triathlon Club member Ray Hunt and any future senior winners eligible for Masters Sportsperson of the Year.

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