Nigel Murray MBE and Jacob Thomas have both retired from international boccia after glittering careers.
Nigel’s introduction to boccia came when he attended a disability sports taster day through his former work supporting adults with physical impairments at a social services day centre.
Early sporting success came in 1999 when he won national and British individual titles. He made his Paralympic debut one year later in Sydney where he won gold in the individual BC2 event.
He narrowly missed out on a podium place at Athens 2004, but at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games Nigel won silver in the individual BC2 event and gold in the BC1/BC2 team event, where he played alongside Dan Bentley, David Smith and Zoe Robinson.
At London 2012, the BC1/BC2 team faced tough competition to defend their Paralympic title but succeeded in winning bronze. Nigel also placed 7th in the individual BC2.
To date, Nigel has been named British Champion 10 times and crowned National Champion on 13 occasions.
In the 2013 New Year’s Honours, Nigel was awarded a MBE for services to boccia. This recognised not only his performances but his role as an ambassador for the sport both across the UK and in his local community. He has been supported throughout his journey by his partner Sylvia Taylor who has been a rock for him every step of the way.
Performance Director Matt Hammond said “Nigel’s record speaks for itself and he will be a great loss to the Programme. As well as his individual achievements he has been a tremendous team player and has been instrumental in bringing through new talent, taking them under his wing and watching them flourish. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Jacob, the current British BC3 Champion, has announced his retirement from International Boccia after first coming to prominence back in 2009 when he switched classifications from BC4 to BC3.
Jacob began 2016 as the BISFed World Number One, and finished it by brilliantly regaining the British title that he first won back in 2010.
The positive impact that he, in partnership with his father and Performance Assistant Mike, has had on the BC3 classification and the wider sport in the UK is immeasurable.
His career has been fantastic and was full of drive, ambition and high attainment. Jacob has made seven consecutive British Championship BC3 finals (with four wins) from 2010 to 2016; he has had wins on the international stage and medals at European, World and World Open levels. He became a Paralympian at the London Games in 2012 but the highlight may have been the 2014 World Championships in Beijing where he achieved a silver medal as part of the British Pair and a bronze medal in the Individual event. Winning the European Cup in Barcelona in 2015 was also a career high.
BC3 Coach Glynn Tromans, who has worked closely with Jacob since 2009 said “Jacob will be proud of his achievements, the friendships he made around the world and for the positive impact he has had on his team mates. Jacob will be remembered for all the influential things he did as part of the GB squad, for years of hard work, dedication, progress and success. We all wish him and Mike a very happy retirement.”
Via GB Boccia