Jacob aims for Rio

First published in Sport by

CRYMYCH boccia player Jacob Thomas admits taking part in this year’s National Paralympic Day has only made him more determined to relive his Games dream in Rio in 2016.

Thomas travelled to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Saturday to take part in a Great Britain versus Greece BC3 pairs match as part of the 2014 National Paralympic Day celebrations.

The 19-year-old, who attended Ysgol y Preseli and made his Paralympic debut at London 2012, couldn’t stop world No.1s Greece overhauling a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 on the last attempt.

Thomas sealed a similar win over the same opposition at National Paralympic Day in 2013 and, with a large crowd at the Copper Box, he admitted he was disappointed not to repeat the feat.

But with the World Championships in Beijing in less than three weeks, Thomas feels Britain are in good shape to put in a strong performance after their exploits at the Copper Box.

“I really enjoyed it out there. It was such a good atmosphere and we always have a really close game against Greece,” said Thomas.

“Unfortunately we just couldn’t quite pull out the victory this time around like we did last year but it was still fun.

“I was remembering last year on the final balls this time and trying to take inspiration from that – but it didn’t quite come off.

“Rio and the Paralympics is definitely the ultimate goal for me but we’ve got the World Championships in Beijing so that’s what we’re focusing on next – we’re looking forward to it.

“The day definitely got me excited for the big tournaments coming up and for the Paralympics – it’s the perfect preparation really.”

Boccia was one of four sports contested at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the day’s celebrations with swimming, goalball and wheelchair basketball also featuring.

And with events also taking place in Birmingham and Liverpool to celebrate and promote disability sport, Thomas believes the day does untold amount of good for all sports involved.

“It was a great atmosphere and I love competing at the Copper Box,” he added. “The crowd are absolutely amazing.

“Their support is such a big help and with all the cameras and everything else as well, it makes boccia feel like a really important sport.”

National Paralympic Day aims to promote Paralympic sport across the UK, giving people the opportunity to relive the wonder of 2012 and to support Paralympic sports and athletes. #NPD2014 is supported by the Spirit of 2012 Trust. Visit Paralympics.org.uk/npd2014

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