Hailing from Brisbane, Queensland, referee Chantal Thomas is more committed than ever to strive for her career as a basketball officiate.
Refereeing her first game at the age of 12 at her local basketball association, Thomas juggled her basketball playing dreams with her newfound officiating passion throughout her teenage years and early twenties, which saw her take her playing career to college in the USA where she also dabbled in refereeing. Returning to Australia as a 23-year-old, she decided it was time to fully make the switch.
“I figured out that I’m a little bit better as a referee than a player, and I still really wanted to be involved in basketball, it’s been my love since I was a kid and instead of sitting on the bench for 40 minutes, I wanted to get up and run instead,” Thomas told BA Media.
Working her way up the representative competitions, the now 28-year-old Thomas is ticking off career goals. Now with an Under 18 national gold medal game under her belt, she’s stoked to be apart of the national championship officiating line-up.
“I’ve always wanted to do national tournaments; it’s been on my bucket list and I’m grateful that I’ve had my first opportunity this year. The hype around it, you get to be considered at the ‘elite’ level of the junior competitions which is a great feeling.”
Inspired by friend, fellow referee and Queenslander, Jacqui Dover, Thomas recognises that having someone close to her pave the way for up-and-coming referees shows her that anything is possible.
“Shoutout to Jacqui Dover, we’ve known each other since we were teenagers and watching her excel in her career just shows that it is doable. It’s always going to be hard work, but having someone you know personally, brings the dream back to Earth, puts it into perspective and makes me think that I can do this.”
“You want to set yourself realistic goals, bite away at it bit by bit, but the next goal is to reach NBL1, excel at that but as my career keeps plodding along, I’d love to reach the WNBL and one day that NBL.”