Geoff Capes inducted into England Athletics Hall of Fame

Geoff Capes received his induction award from his former coach Stuart Storey.
Geoff Capes received his induction award from his former coach Stuart Storey.
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Local shot putt legend Geoff Capes was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Saturday (October 13).

Capes was presented with his induction award by his former coach Stuart Storey, who spotted his potential when he was just a schoolboy in Holbeach.

Geoff Capes the athlete.

Geoff Capes the athlete.

After receiving it 69 year-old Capes said: “I have been happy to compete at the very highest level, to have been number one in the world and to have made many friends.”

He paid tribute to the work of the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund and the young athletes coming through.

“We have some great athletes and it is super to watch and see them win medals,” he added.

In inducting him, Storey paid tribute to an athlete who was twice Commonwealth champion, twice European champion and three times an Olympian. He said: “Geoff Capes has been a great man in every respect. He was, and remains, a celebrity in this country. Geoff was superb in his career.”

Geoff Capes the strongman.

Geoff Capes the strongman.

Others to be inducted along with Capes on Saturday were Tommy Green, John Regis, Aston Moore, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Peter Matthews and Katharine Merry.

GEOFF CAPES

In May 1966 Athletics Weekly featured two promising 16 year-old throwers. One was Hungarian-born Joe Bugner who would turn professional boxer. The other was Geoff Capes, already almost 6ft 6in tall and weighing over 16 stones.

Believe it or not, he was the smallest of five brothers and in his early days as an athlete ran a 4:48 mile and raced cross-country!

Geoff Capes the birdman.

Geoff Capes the birdman.

The turning point in Capes’ life was when he came under the coaching influence of international high hurdler Stuart Storey who had recognised his shot putting potential.

Capes began setting age records from 16 onwards and in 1969, at 19, made his debut for the national senior team.

It was in 1974 that he became one of the world’s elite. At the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch he ensured the gold medal. In June, he raised the Commonwealth record to the landmark figure of 21.00. Another milestone followed in August with a put over 70 feet (21.37).

In 1976 Capes regained the European title and boosted his Commonwealth record to 21.55 but disappointment awaited him at the Montreal Olympics. He had the third longest throw in the qualifying competition but in the final he could muster only 20.36 for sixth.

He collected more medals, including a second gold at the 1978 Commonwealth Games. In May 1980 he came up with his longest ever throw - a Commonwealth record of 21.68 which survived as the British record for 23 years.

He went into the Moscow Olympics ranked second but a back injury ruined his chances and he placed fifth.

His athletics career may have ended in frustration but Capes went on to become even better known to the general public by twice winning the televised World’s Strongest Man title as well as being one of the country’s foremost budgerigar breeders.

HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

Harold Abrahams (2009)

Kriss Akabusi (2016)

Joan Allison (2015)

Malcolm Arnold (2009)

Athens Men’s 4x100 team (2017)

Steve Backley (2009)

McDonald Bailey (2015)

Bud Baldaro (2016)

Sir Roger Bannister (2008)

Roger Black (2015)

Lillian Board (2015)

Chris Brasher (2008)

Godfrey Brown (2017)

George Bunner (2014)

Lord Burghley (2009)

Guy Butler (2014)

Darren Campbell (2014)

Geoff Capes (2018)

Sir Chris Chataway (2012)

Linford Christie (2010)

Peter Coe (2015)

Lord Sebastian Coe (2008)

David Coleman (2008)

Kathy Cook (2011)

Muriel Cornell (2014)

Steve Cram (2009)

Danny Crates (2015)

Geoff Dyson (2008)

Jonathan Edwards (2009)

Peter Elliott (2015)

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill (2018)

Don Finlay (2012)

Brendan Foster (2010)

George Gandy (2014)

Walter George (2010)

Sir Arthur Gold (2014)

PW ‘Jimmy’ Green (2010)

Tommy Green (2018)

Sally Gunnell (2008)

Sir Ludwig Guttmann (2013)

Tom Hampson (2011)

Ashia Hansen (2014)

Dame Marea Hartman (2012)

Basil Heatley (2015)

David Hemery (2008)

Maurice Herriott (2017)

Albert Hill (2010)

Ron Hill (2014)

Jack Holden (2013)

David Holding (2008)

Dame Kelly Holmes (2010)

Fred Housden (2012)

Dorothy Hyman (2011)

Derek Ibbotson (2011)

Carl Johnson (2017)

Derek Johnson (2017)

Diane Leather (2013)

John Le Masurier (2010)

Sheila Lerwill (2013)

Denise Lewis (2011)

Bruce Longden (2011)

Douglas Lowe (2012)

Bob Matthews (2014)

Peter Matthews (2018)

Ken Matthews (2011)

Katharine Merry (2018)

Aston Moore (2018)

David Moorcroft (2012)

Sam Mussabini (2011)

Judy Oakes (2016)

Steve Ovett (2008)

Alan Pascoe (2013)

Wilf Paish (2012)

Jim Peters (2013)

Gordon Pirie (2013)

Jean Pickering (2011)

Ron Pickering (2009)

Ann Packer (2009)

Peter Radford (2016)

Mary Rand (2009)

John Regis (2018)

Ron Roddan (2016)

Arthur Rowe (2017)

Tessa Sanderson (2012)

Alf Shrubb (2009)

Wendy Sly (2017)

Joyce Smith (2016)

Mike Smith (2011)

Stuart Storey (2017)

Noel Thatcher (2009)

Daley Thompson (2008)

Don Thompson (2013)

Tokyo Men’s 4x400 team (2016)

Dorothy Tyler (2009)

Emil Voigt (2015)

Mel Watman (2013)

Denis Watts (2010)

F.A.M Webster (2012)

Fatima Whitbread (2012)

Harold Whitlock (2011)

Sydney Wooderson (2009)