READING’s Adam Thomas seemed destined for a career in football, but after falling out of love with the game he is now chasing a career on the athletics track.

Born into a family of football fanatics, the 24-year-old had his heart set on making it as a professional soccer star and played for his county during his schooldays.

However, after gradually becoming disillusioned with the sport, Thomas – who is set to make his first appearance at the World University Games in the 100m in Naples next week – decided to turn his attention to sprinting.

Having always been renowned for his pace on the pitch, the two-time BUCS 60m champion explained how he gradually tuned his attention to the track.

He said: “My whole family was into football and it came first over everything.

“I was playing at quite a high level for three different teams and I just got fed up of being kicked all the time.

“I didn’t have the love for it anymore and I think you need that or else you’re not going to make it in any sport.

“I tried a few different things and found I was half-decent at athletics.

“Because football had been so serious I wasn’t sure I wanted to go straight back into high-pressure sport, but focusing on self-development is one of the main reasons I fell in love with it.

“It was something completely new and it was almost like trying to master my own craft.

“Trying to learn everything about the sport was something I found interesting and I really enjoyed being involved in something where I had to solely rely on myself.

“I was about 16 or 17 when I properly committed to it, but after my A-Levels I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and I ended up doing an apprenticeship at BMW for three years.

“When I finished I decided I wanted to focus on my athletics more and I wasn’t going to be able to do that with my job.”

Thomas decided to pursue a Product Design Engineering degree at Loughborough University, where he has just finished his second year.

Despite being something of a latecomer to athletics, he is relishing the opportunity to represent his country in Italy and is confident he can be successful.

He said: “Going from BMW, I wanted to further my knowledge in that field and Loughborough is home to some of the best sprint coaches as well as being high-performing academically.

“One of the guys in my group I train with went to the last edition of the WUGs in Taipei two years ago and he said it was an amazing experience.

“It’ll be like a mini Olympics and I haven’t had that environment before with lots of different sports and countries in one place together.

“I think there’s going to be a really good atmosphere, but the main focus is to go there, run to the best of my ability and then afterwards I can enjoy it.

“I’m about a third into my season and I’ve just ran the 100m in 10.2 seconds.

“I’ve looked at previous times and if I continue with where I am I should hopefully make the final and then potentially challenge for a medal.”

Thomas is realistic about his ambitions in the sprinting world, but harbours hopes of continuing to represent his nation in the aftermath of the World University Games.

He said: “I’m going to see how I progress this year and that will dictate whether or not I split my final year in Loughborough.

“If I drop a tenth off my personal best that should put me in the top five in the country, which should give me the opportunity to run for GB more and potentially lead to sponsorship.

“I definitely want to go to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022, so I’m just going to keep working hard and see how it plays out.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. For more information visit