Leeds student Jo overcomes injury to celebrate GCSE success... and become a national weightlifting champion

FOR JO Dobson, getting her GCSE results was a load off her mind after overcoming injury and a heavy training schedule to become national weightlifting champion midway through her exams.

Here is another release and photo from todays GCSE results. I have also attached a photo of weightlifter Jo Dobson, taken at school this morning.

Jo, a pupil at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL), is celebrating after gaining 10 GCSEs - an A*, six As and three Bs.

Her achievement is all the more remarkable as her preparation was disrupted by shoulder surgery at the end of 2015 and a training commitment of five days a week with the Leeds City Weightlifting Team.

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Jo, from Horsforth, who is a former sprinter said: “I love the thrill of weightlifting. It is so satisfying to be able to lift heavy objects over 1.5 times your bodyweight.”

Lexy Shipley and Harin Wijayathunga celebrate a clean sweep at GCSE.

England netballer Lexy Shipley and up-and-coming rowing cox Harin Wijayathunga got 10 A*s each in their GCSEs.

They are also both students at GSAL. Lexy, from Alwoodley, has had a busy year on the netball pitch. She earned her first two England caps at a Netball Europe competition in Gibraltar in March, and followed that up by helping her school team to win the U16 England Netball National Schools Competition.

She said: “Netball training takes up about 20 hours a week, so with GCSE revision, it was tough. The teachers have been really amazing though and very supportive.

“I didn’t sleep too well last night. I was really hoping to do well in my GCSEs and it was such a relief when I saw my results.”

Lexy Shipley and Harin Wijayathunga celebrate a clean sweep at GCSE.

Harin, from Meanwood, a cox at Leeds Rowing Club, became one of the youngest coxswains to cox a team at Henley Regatta two years ago when he was just 14. Since then he has trialled for the Great Britain U18 rowing team and, although unsuccessful this year, he aims to try again in the future.

Training takes up a lot of his spare time but he welcomes the break.

He said: “I train at Thwaites Mill four times a week, plus long sessions at the weekend, and it’s tiring but when I’ve been studying hard it’s good to do something different.”