Worth his wait
By STEVE SPINKS
WHAT'S in a medal?
Everything if you're a young sportsperson.
In early March, Alstonville's Joel Fitness won a bronze medal in the NSW Surf Lifesaving Championships in the Under-12 beach sprint at Umina on the Central Coast.
Lucky handing out medals was not a competition.
If it was, the NSW Surf Lifesaving competition would have come last.
Fitness was not given his hard-earned bronze after the race as the organisers had run out of medals.
If that wasn't bad enough, Joel was set up for further indignation.
"They didn't have enough medals," the Year 7 Alstonville High student said.
"So I could get my picture taken, they gave me some girl's medal."
Finally late last month, the 12-year-old was able to celebrate when the medal arrived at his family's Alstonville property via the post.
"He's been hanging for it," chuckled Joel's mother Candy.
"He's been going down to the box every day."
It was Joel's second consecutive bronze medal in the beach sprints.
In 2004, he was third in the Under-11s, while in 2003 and 2002 he won gold in the State beach sprints in younger age groups.
However, this was Joel's first bronze for his new club Byron Bay.
Joel and his family are from Shellharbour on the NSW South Coast and have only recently moved to the area.
The beach sprint champ has become heavily involved in sport on the Northern Rivers.
Besides surf club activities with Byron, Joel also plays soccer, waterpolo, Touch and athletics.
He rates soccer and surf livesaving as his favourite sports.