Sarah Thomas University of Exeter's hockey Olympian

Olympic Call-up for Exeter Alumna

Sarah Thomas (Exercise & Sports Sciences, 2002) has become the first University of Exeter alumna to be selected to represent her country at the 2012 Olympic Games. Sarah will represent Great Britain in Hockey, having been named in the squad of 16 athletes for the Games.

Sarah made her Wales debut in 1997, first represented Great Britain in 2003 and has been a regular in both teams ever since, amassing over 100 caps. As well as captaining her national side, the 23-year-old from Aberdare was named BBC Wales Junior Sportsperson of the Year in 1997, before she began her studies at Exeter.

During her time as a student at the University of Exeter, Sarah received a Sports Scholarship, providing a comprehensive package of support and financial benefits. She was part of the team that reached the British University’s Sports Association Championship Final in 2002, losing out on the day to a talented Loughborough team.

After the disappointment of not being selected for the Athens Games of 2004, Sarah moved to Holland to play full-time for Rotterdam HC.

In 2007 Sarah was named as the Club’s Player of the Season and was subsequently made captain. Last January Sarah returned to the UK to join up with her Great Britain team-mates in preparation for London, training full time at Team GB’s headquarters in Bisham Abbey.

Sarah was part of the Great Britain team that competed in Beijing in 2008 and is now looking forward to taking part in an Olympic Games on home soil. On the day that the squad was announced, Sarah commented on her Twitter page [external link], “So proud to be part of TeamGB & to play at a home Olympics!”

After their success in winning the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament, a test event for London 2012, Team GB are looking to build on their 6th place finish in Beijing and the squad are hopeful of a finishing on the podium at their home Olympics.

Sarah’s call-up follows the announcement that current PhD student Robin Williams has been selected for the Great Britain 5-a-side blind football squad.

Robin has been a keen sportsman from an early age, swimming at international level until he was 15. In 2008 he started playing football competitively, and was selected for the World Cup in 2010. Robin receives top quality support through the University’s High Performance Programme and by virtue of his FA backed Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) award. As such, he trains several times a week at the University with two other members of the squad who are also based in Exeter. The TASS award ensures Robin receives strength & conditioning coaching, physiotherapy and sports medicine services when required.

Date: 23 May 2012