Paralympic sprinter and University of Newcastle graduate, Heath Francis, has been named as the Australian Institute of Sport Athlete of the Year.
This award comes after Heath delivered a range of outstanding performances during 2008. These performances included three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, setting new world records in the 200 metre and 400 metre events and a personal best time in the 100 metre event in the process.
Heath was also named as the 2007 University of Newcastle Sports Person of the Year for his performances at the time which included a gold medal in the 200 metre event for athletes with a disability at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and three gold medals in the 200, 400 and 100 metre events at the International Paralympic Committee World Championships.
Heath has previously been named as Athletics Australia Male Athlete of the Year in 2006. He also represented the University of Newcastle as a member of the University Athletics Club in 2001 and 2002 and as a member of the University's Australian University Games Athletics Team in 2003.
NUsport CEO, Samantha Martin-Williams, said the success of athletes like Heath Francis supported the commitment of NUsport and the University to developing athlete's sporting careers.
'Our commitment at NUsport is to initiate, operate and maintain sporting and recreational services and facilities that help individuals to continue to set new standards in healthy lifestyles,' she said.