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Donovan Capes wins Junior Boys Shot Put Gold at English Schools Track and Field Championships in Birmingham




The Capes family tradition in athletics looks to be in safe hands after gold medal success at this year’s English Schools Track and Field Championships in Birmingham.

Donovan Capes (14), grandson of Holbeach sporting legend Geoff Capes, won the junior boys’ shot put with a throw of 14.92m at the weekend.

The winning distance was just 17cm short of Donovan’s lifetime best of 15.09m set at an East Anglian Athletics League meeting last month.

Donovan Capes on top of the rostrum at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium where the athletics events will be held during the 2022 Commonwealth Games.Photo supplied.
Donovan Capes on top of the rostrum at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium where the athletics events will be held during the 2022 Commonwealth Games.Photo supplied.

Donovan, who competes for Nene Valley Harriers AC, followed in the footsteps of dad Lewis Capes and aunt Emma Boelema in winning an English Schools title, something his famous grandfather never achieved.

After the event, Donovan said: “I went to the English Schools Championships intending to win it, but I knew it was going to be close as I’m only top of the under-15 rankings by 10cms.

“When I entered the stadium, I was nervous but also focused as I wanted to hit a big throw with my first attempt to put pressure on my rivals.

“In the end, I won the competition with my opening throw of 14.94m, backing that up with a great series of throws that no one else could beat.

Donovan Capes competes in the shot put at the English Schools Track and Field Championships in Birmingham at the weekend.Photo supplied.
Donovan Capes competes in the shot put at the English Schools Track and Field Championships in Birmingham at the weekend.Photo supplied.

“When I knew I’d won, I felt elated and relieved as I’d had the pressure of being UK number one.

“Standing on the winner’s rostrum with my medal was a great reward for all the hard work I’d put in”

Lewis said: "It was a much-anticipated competition as a lot of the throws coaches said it was going to be one of the most closely fought events of the championships, with the top three ranked athletes separated by just 15cms apart.

Donovan Capes, ESAA Junior Boys Shot Put Champion 2019.Photo supplied.
Donovan Capes, ESAA Junior Boys Shot Put Champion 2019.Photo supplied.

"Donovan has worked extremely hard this year as he vowed to win the English Schools Championships after not making the top eight last year, in what was only his first year at that level.

"He has always set high standards for himself and Donovan strives to improve week by week, never happy with just average performances.

"Unfortunately, Donovan broke his finger quite badly in January playing rugby which wrote off his indoor season.

"So he had to watch his rivals clean up at indoor competitions, making himwork even harder in the gym to improve his strength levels so he could start the outdoor season on a high.

"We, as a family, are so glad that Donovan won at the weekend, but he has been throwing much further in training so there is so more to come from him before the end of the season."

Donovan is in fine form at the moment with 11 first place finishes already this season.

A member of Lincolnshire Throws Academy, run by his father and grandfather, Donovan is a Year 9 student at Bourne Academy whose executive head teacher Lucy Conley described him as “a hard-working and truly lovely young man”.

Geoff Capes, with his England Athletics Hall of Fame Award, alongside son Lewis and grandson Donovan.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-141018-4
Geoff Capes, with his England Athletics Hall of Fame Award, alongside son Lewis and grandson Donovan.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-141018-4

"To see Donovan achieving in this outstanding way and winning a gold medal at the English Schools Track and Field Championships is such an inspiration for other young people at our school and we all feel extremely proud of him," Mrs Conley said.

"He is not only an accomplished sportsman but also a hard-working and truly lovely young man.

Lucy Conley, executive head teacher of Bourne Academy.Photo by Tim Wilson. SG-221118-003TW
Lucy Conley, executive head teacher of Bourne Academy.Photo by Tim Wilson. SG-221118-003TW

"We have seen Donovan really grow and develop since becoming a student at Bourne Academy and it will continue to be a pleasure to see him progress in the future."

Meanwhile, English Athletics Hall of Fame member Geoff said: “Donovan has worked hard this year, putting in the extra gym time required during the winter.

"Breaking his finger was a setback but Donovan still trained in the areas he could improve in while his finger healed and he did not make any excuses not to train.

“He fully deserves his success as he’s been consistent all season, throwing top-ranked distances every week.

“Donovan has a lot of ability, but is yet to reach his full potential so the future is bright.”

Donovan Capes with mum Samantha and dad/coach Lewis after winning the junior boys shot put competition at the English Schools Track and Field Championships in Birmingham.Photo supplied.
Donovan Capes with mum Samantha and dad/coach Lewis after winning the junior boys shot put competition at the English Schools Track and Field Championships in Birmingham.Photo supplied.

There is more success in the pipeline for the Capes family after Donovan’s younger brother Lawson became the first ten-year-old in the country to throw over 10m in the shot put last month.

Lewis said: “Having the Capes name puts more pressure on them than the other athletes as everyone expects them to be good.

“That’s why they both truly deserve the successes they’ve had and with the hard work they’ve continually put in, both boys have truly earned these accolades.”

Lawson Capes, the first 10-year-old shot putter ever to throw over 10 metres.
Photo supplied.
Lawson Capes, the first 10-year-old shot putter ever to throw over 10 metres. Photo supplied.

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