GSAL students in the running for Leeds Sports Awards

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Two students from The Grammar School at Leeds are finalists in the 2018 Leeds Sports Awards, which celebrate the achievements of the city’s sports stars, coaches and volunteers.

Jo Dobson and Alfie Yates will find out at the awards ceremony on Thursday 1 March whether they have won Young Achievers awards in their respective categories. Both students hold national titles in their chosen sport and show great determination in fitting a busy training schedule around their school lives.

Year 13 student Jo, a member of Leeds City Weightlifting, is a finalist in the Young Sportswoman category. Jo won the U20 title in the women’s 63kg class at the 2017 British Weight Lifting (BWL) Junior Championships despite being the youngest in the category at just 17.

Her talent has been recognised by BWL, which selected her for their talent pathway, the BWL Youth Development Squad, and nominated her for the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS). This Sport England initiative supports young athletes in successfully managing both their academic and sporting commitments.

Jo said: “I feel honoured to be a finalist at the awards when I look at the other girls who are nominated, and it would be brilliant to win.”

Alfie Yates, Year 7, is a finalist in the Young Disability Sportsperson category in recognition of his achievements in the sport of boccia. Alfie is the current holder of the Heathcoat Cup, a national competition for individuals run by Boccia England, the sport’s national governing body (NGB).

He took up the sport at the age of eight, having been diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy aged three, and competes with a BC5 classification. While his long term goal is the 2024 Paralympics in Paris, first he hopes to be selected for the England Boccia squad and is developing his talent through the NGB’s England Performance Group.

Mark Dolan is Alfie’s coach at the Knights Academy in Sheffield, an England training academy. Mark said: “I have never met a more determined and dedicated young man when it comes to playing boccia. Alfie’s sheer attention to detail and ability to analyse the game enables him to perform at the highest level, consistently.

“Alfie should be nicknamed ‘Mr Dedication’ as he really does dedicate everything to boccia. With his drive to succeed, I have no doubt in the future he will be winning medals at the very highest level.”

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