Fettell at the top of his game

CLAYTON FETTELL's 2007 just keeps getting better.

After claiming gold in the Under-23s division at the Oceania and Australian Triathlon Championships in Hobart in Febraury, Alstonville-based Fettell was named as the joint 2006 North Coast Academy of Sport Athlete of the Year in a ceremony in Grafton at the weekend.

Fettell, along with Maclean-based sailor Gabrielle King, took the award after sterling performances throughout 2006.

Early last year, Fettell, who turns 21 this month, gained a scholarship to the NSW Institute of Sport before spending four months overseas racing at ITU World Cup and Continental Cup events, gaining top 10 placings in both China, Korea and Luxembourg.

Between these races, he spent time in Germany, training with the German professional triathlon team, TV Lemgo, and competing with them in elite-level Bundesliga events.

On his return to Australia and armed with a resume of strong performances, Fettell was asked to train with the Australian elite team and AIS squad.

This led to his selection in the Australian Aquathlon (swim/run) team which competed at the ITU World Aquathlon Championships in Switzerland in August, where Fettell won the Under-23s division and finished 10th overall.

But the star athlete isn't resting on his laurels and is now preparing for another overseas season which will see his first race in South Africa in mid-May before heading onto France for the European summer to compete and train alongside other elite competitors including 2006 Commonwealth Games triathlon gold medallist, Brad Kahlefeldt.

King, 16, was rewarded for her fifth placed finish at the 2006 Volvo Workd Youth ISAF Sailing Champiosnhips in England ? her first ever international competition.

NCAS executive Tony Clarke said Fettell and King proved North Coast athletes had what it took to match it with the best in the world.

"Gabrielle King's and Clayton Fettell's achievements should be an inspiration to all other junior athletes and coaches on the North Coast," he said.

"It's nice to know that Gabrielle's years of after-school and weekend training on the Clarence River, and Fettells thousands of laps of swimming at Alstonville pool and thousands of kilometres of cycling and running on Northern Rivers roads have been the foundation of their structured development and recent success."

Fettell wasn't the only local athlete to take home an award, with 14 other sports men and women from Lismore and it's surrounds snaring honours.

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