Champion fencer Joel scores top marks in GCSEs

A CHAMPION fencing athlete is also making his mark in the world of academia after scoring top grades in his GCSEs.

Ripon Grammar school boarding student Joel Wilson, from Gainford, near Darlington, was awarded three grade 9s and eight grade 8s, the equivalent to a clean sweep of A*s.

As a rising star in one of the most technical and tactical sports around, Joel has represented the North-East in national championships and had to juggle demanding training commitments with his studies.

Joel, who turned 16 in July, will now take A-levels in psychology, history, English literature and chemistry and hopes to go on to practise as a barrister in either criminal or family law.

"I'm happy with my results and I think they accurately reflect the efforts I made towards these grades. My biggest challenge was probably balancing fencing and academic studies,” he said.

He first took up epee sword fencing in 2016 when he joined Street Swords in Darlington and trained with Durham-based Laszlo Jakab, who has coached Olympic gold and silver medal winners and a number of national teams. Joel now trains with Harrogate Fencing Club.