Disability Sports Awards

Bristol Sports Awards, March 2006

Ian David Thomas Profile

Unfortunately at the end of 2004, I had to retire from ‘Special Needs’ judo I enjoyed competing for four-years from 2001 through medical circumstances within the United Kingdom and Europe.

Not to be deterred, in February 2005, I ventured into a new sport embarking on playing table tennis at Filton College, with the ‘Filton Flyers’. The club consisted of able bodied players and I was the first person with a disability to join. Saturday mornings consisted of one-to-one intense coaching primarily coaching on my forehand because every shot played was on my backhand. After three months of hard work and immense patience, my forehand shots came into play. Friday nights at ‘Filton Flyers’ was the practice night where a ladder table pyramid was in place when individuals could challenge any other competitor that was up to two rugs higher in the structure.

Late summer 2005, I competed in the Bristol and District Table Tennis summer league participating in two matches and was victories in winning one game. It was proposed that I was going to participate in the Bristol and District Table Tennis winter league but unfortunately, ‘Filton Flyers’ disbanded on the eve of this date.

It took me around another six weeks before I was successful in finding another table tennis club at Thornbury Castle School, but by this time, teams that had entered in the winter league didn’t require additional players. Luckily, during this period I was still having one-to-one coaching with my coach Di Mcilwain. Not to be deterred and in late October found another table tennis club in Thornbury, where I practise twice weekly. It is only recently that I have joined a team that are competing in the Stroud and District Table Tennis league, and my first league match is scheduled on the 23rd February.

Discussions have taken place with the coach at Thornbury Table Tennis Club, John Fraser and it is envisaged that I will be involved in administrating a new venture where we are creating a 2006 junior winter league within the Stroud and District boundary.

To date, without any success, I am in the process of finding suitable tournaments to enter against other athletes with a similar disability, but this is proving difficult.

Finally, during then spring and summer months 2005, I completed the Community Leader Sports Award Level 1 course and hoped to develop myself into a coaching role some day.

Ian Thomas with Larry Godfrey (Rolls-Royce colleague), Bristol Archer and Olympian who finished 4th in the Athens 2004 Games

Ian Thomas with Andy Brassington (former Gloucestershire Cricketer)

Ian Thomas in a group award winners photograph.

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