Strongman icon Geoff Capes’ grandson, 15, wins England shot put call-up for U18s event

Geoff Capes (centre) with his grandson Lawson (right), his other grandson Donovan, and their father Lewis

The 15-year-old grandson of legendary strongman Geoff Capes has won his first international shot put call-up – for an under-18s event in Sweden next month.

Lawson Capes, who throws for the Peterborough and Nene Valley Club, was unbeatable last summer, comfortably winning national and English Schools titles with throws which were among the best in history for his age.

His grandfather Geoff has been the continuous holder of the British senior shot put record for the past 52 years and was also a former European and Commonwealth champion, as well as twice the world’s strongest man, six-times Highland Games champion and the winner of a world title for breeding budgerigars.

In an exclusive interview last summer with the Telegraph, Geoff tipped Lawson for big achievements and he has now been selected for the 15-strong England throws team that will compete at the Vaxjo International in the U18s category at an U20 event in Sweden next month.

Lawson is the fifth Capes to become an international shot putter, following Geoff, his dad (and Geoff’s son) Lewis, his aunt (and Geoff’s daughter) Emma and older brother Donavan.

He is the youngest in the family to achieve that milestone with Geoff becoming an England international a few weeks older in 1964, when he was also aged 15. Geoff went on to become Britain’s most-capped athlete and competed at three Olympics before focusing on the world of strongman after the 1980 Moscow Games.

Lawson’s older brother Donovan also won the English schools title in 2019 and is currently studying in Colorado in the United States on an athletics scholarship.

“It was a really nice surprise,” said Lewis, of Lawson’s call-up. “It is great that England Athletics have recognised the hard work and commitment that he has made at such a young age.”

Donavan and Lawson both learned the sport at the shot put ring that Geoff himself built in his home village of Stoke Rochford.

The two brothers are now both coached by dad Lewis, himself an accomplished former shot putter and American footballer, and they have photos and memorabilia from their grandfather’s career displayed all over the shed where they do their weight training.

The common family thread is the speed and timing of a rare explosive power. Lawson can run 100m in under 12 seconds. His grandad once got down to 11.2sec and, even when he weighed 23 stone, could still run 200m in 23.7sec, which was fast enough to famously beat Brendan Foster in a race.

Of his grandchildren, Geoff proudly told The Telegraph: “Donovan will improve and Lawson? Watch that bugger.”