Clarence Valley Senior Sportserson of the Year Mitch Christiansen with Grafton Shoppingworld's Lauren Duguid and Chrystal Davies at the 2020 Clarence Valley Sports Awards at Grafton District Services Club on Saturday, 14th November, 2020. Photo Bill North / The Daily Examiner
Clarence Valley Senior Sportserson of the Year Mitch Christiansen with Grafton Shoppingworld's Lauren Duguid and Chrystal Davies at the 2020 Clarence Valley Sports Awards at Grafton District Services Club on Saturday, 14th November, 2020. Photo Bill North / The Daily Examiner

Para athlete soars to new track and field heights

Para athlete Mitch Christiansen continues to soar to new heights, setting new personal bests in all three of his track and field disciplines at various meets in 2021.

In a busy start to the year, the 24-year-old recently shaved more than half a second off his best 200m sprint time, broke 13 seconds for the 100m sprint for the first time, and even surprised himself when he set a new mark in long jump.

The hot streak started in December when he broke his previous best of 26.85s with a time of 26.30s at Queensland Athletic’s Glynis Nunn Shield, and improved his PB further on January 30 at the Shield Event No.10 at Canberra where he ran 26.20s.

At the same meet in Canberra he broke his 100m PB of 13.05s with a time of 12.75s, which was just half a second outside the Australian Para record for the T37 classification.

“I’ve broken PBs every time I go down to Canberra,” Christiansen said. “It’s the fastest track in Australia.”

While in Canberra, Mitch also completed a physical impairment classification in which his T37 classification (cerebral palsy to one side of the body) was reviewed before a World Para panel. This process includes a physical and technical assessment before being viewed in competition, and is necessary for consideration for future international team selection.

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

Despite not further improving his times, he claimed gold medals in both 100m and 200m for T37 at the NSW Country Championships at Mingara on the Central Coast last weekend (Feb 27-28) However, he did set a new PB by 17cm in long jump (4.35m) to take home bronze in that event.

“I was stoked on Sunday, the long jump PB surprised me,” he said.

“I probably would’ve pulled off a PB in the 100 on Saturday, but I sort of slipped at the start and it was only 0.2 seconds that I missed out on.

“The 200 on Sunday was a bit windy down the home straight.”

Mitch Christiansen said he was not expecting to achieve a personal best in the long jump event at the 2020 NSW Country Athletics Championships.
Mitch Christiansen said he was not expecting to achieve a personal best in the long jump event at the 2020 NSW Country Athletics Championships.

Christiansen, who goes to the gym every day, attributed much of his improvement to meeting at the gym once a week with physios Matt Cameron and Mitch Pateman, and coach Terry West varying his program to focus on speed work over short distances.

At the end of 2020 Mitch sat at 13th in 100m, 9th in 200m and 15th in long jump in the 2020 World Para Rankings.

For his efforts Christiansen has been named Grafton Shoppingworld Senior Sportsperson of the Month. The accolade puts him in the running for the Clarence Valley Senior Sportsperson of the Year - which he was awarded last year - when the 2021 Clarence Valley Sports Awards are held in November.

Para athlete (T37 classification) Mitch Christiansen won the Grafton Shoppingworld Senior Sportsperson of the Year in his fourth time as a finalist at the 2020 Clarence Valley Sports Awards at Grafton District Services Club on Saturday, 14th November, 2020. Photo Bill North / The Daily Examiner
Para athlete (T37 classification) Mitch Christiansen won the Grafton Shoppingworld Senior Sportsperson of the Year in his fourth time as a finalist at the 2020 Clarence Valley Sports Awards at Grafton District Services Club on Saturday, 14th November, 2020. Photo Bill North / The Daily Examiner

He was one of a contingent of Grafton Athletics Club members to travel to the NSW Championships, and the team returned with plenty of the spoils (NQ = national qualifier):

Mitch Christiansen (T37): 3rd long Jump 4.35m (PB), 1st 100m, 1st 200m. All NQ.

Stuart Tait (40-49 men): 1st 5km, 4th 1500m, 3rd Javelin, 3rd long jump.

Nicole Tait (40-49 women): 1st high jump, 2nd 100m, 2nd 200m, 2nd discus, 2nd shot put, 2nd 30+ relay.

Hanna Tait (under-20 women): 3rd 100m NQ, 3rd open womens relay, 2nd 100m hurdles, 3rd 200m, 2nd shot put, 2nd javelin.

Will Tait (under-15 boys): 4th 200m hurdles, 2nd 100m hurdles, 1st high jump, 3rd under-16 relay.

Callum Tait (under-10 boys): 1st 100m, 1st 200m, 1st long jump, 2nd shot put, 4th 800m.

Anika Swift (under-18 girls): 3rd 400m, 2nd 100m, 3rd 200m.

Natasha Rudder (open women): 6th 100m final.

Ethan Streigher (under-20 men): 1st 100m NQ, 2nd 200m, 2nd 400m.

Damon Streigher (under-18 boys): 9th 200m, 6th 400m, 12th 100m.

Carla Dougherty (30-39 women): 4th 100m, 2nd 200m, 1st long jump.

Tim Van Der Vlist (under-14): 1st high jump, 4th long jump, 5th 100m, 6th 400m.

Jacob Woodbury (under-18 boys): 1st high jump, 1st shot put, 3rd long jump; (under-20 men) 2nd discus, 3rd javelin.

This weekend Christiansen and several of his clubmates will travel to Sydney for the NSW State Championships, followed by Queensland State Championships on March 11-14, and possibly the Australian National Championships in Sydney on April 12-21.

  • Check out tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph to find out the latest Grafton Shoppingworld Junior Sportsperson of the Month.Nominations for the next round of Sportsperson of the Month are now open. To nominate for next month please provide brief details of the outstanding recent achievements of a Clarence Valley athlete who deserves recognition in the community via email to cvsportsawards@gmail.com or message to the Clarence Valley Sports Awards Facebook page.
Clarence Valley Sports Awards logo.
Clarence Valley Sports Awards logo.

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