JACOB THOMAS (1994 – 2020)
JACOB THOMAS (1994 – 2020)
Jacob Thomas was undoubtedly one of the world’s Boccia stars – an extremely talented individual from Narberth, Pembrokeshire who started playing the highly skilled game at the age of ten and became a member of Disability Sport Wales’ elite academy. His meteoric rise in the sport was phenomenal as at the age of seventeen Jacob was selected as part of the Paralympic GB Boccia team to compete in London 2012 – the youngest member of the nine-person squad:
“My earliest reflection of Jacob was when he was probably 12/13 years of age. He was doing the sport he loved and went on to represent at the highest level. At those very first stages it was evident he was a thinker and you could consciously see him planning his game according to his opposition. I did, however, manage to have a bit of gamesmanship with him which he absolutely loved, where I had taken a session at our DSW Academy weekend over at the Stackpole Centre in Pembrokeshire where we were holding our very first camp. We had done a planning to win strategy session where we recalled and noted both our current strengths and weaknesses and areas to improve on. The very next morning we held a match play competition session where I had studied all the players notes and made myself a game plan for each and every player. I certainly made them aware of what I had learned from their own reflections much to the annoyance of these young talented players. However, young Jacob was having none of it and completely changed his style of play to outthink me and at this very early age I knew he was a unique young man and would go on one day to greater things. This epitomised Jacob and some years later whilst he was competing in London 2012 Paralympic Games it made me extremely proud knowing I had been part of this young man’s early development and talent confirmation process.
He was a young man that never said never, with professionalism and determination beyond most peoples’ understanding. I have always been extremely honoured to have been there at the beginning of Jacob’s story and to have had a small part in his development as his Performance and Team Manager and part of his amazing journey.
Jacob, you are a young man that will not be forgotten easily. You touched a lot of peoples mindsets and hearts; may you rest in peace and enjoy that big party in the sky!”
ANTHONY HUGHES, DSW Performance Manager
“I feel extremely privileged, as former Chair, Cymru Boccia Wales, to have witnessed the development of Jacob Thomas, Wales' repeated National Boccia (BC3) Champion, peaking with him representing GB at The London 2012 Paralympic Games. This young athlete who inspired many to take up this Para-sport will always hold a special place in my heart
May you rest in peace Jacob”
FORMER BOCCIA WALES CHAIR JULIE WHITTINGHAM
“I don’t really know what to say, I have no words, heartbroken, but I will try. Jacob was such a special person he had a beautiful calming soul and that carried on to the outside as well. He was more than just a person to me; he was a friend and a very special and amazing one at that. I will treasure the memories I have with him, from the battles we had on the boccia court and the many trips with the Welsh squad to competitions, camps and our outings to sporting events. It was truly an honour to see him flourish at the GB camps and how he developed into a great athlete culminating in his appearance at the London 2012 Paralympic Games where I had the pleasure of watching him as a spectator. Jacob was the best player I had the pleasure of knowing and playing against, he was always one step ahead of you, every time you thought you got him by the balls (pun intended) he would pull out a worldie shot, he was like a magician. He was ever the professional as well and conducted himself with great sportsmanship on and off court. Sport and the world have lost a truly great person and champion. You are a true legend and you and your legacy will live on. Peace out champ!”
JACOB’S FORMER TEAM MATE & TRAINING PARTNER TOMOS MARTIN (BOCCIA WALES PLAYER)
Our thoughts and love go out to Jacob’s family at this incredibly sad and difficult time but everyone at Disability Sport Wales will never forget such a remarkable young man who made his mark on the world stage in a sport he truly loved.