Following on from the recent World Table Tennis Daycelebrations, Team England caught up with Commonwealth Games Bronze medalist Kelly Sibley to discuss her love of the sport and quest for gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“It would be amazing to represent Team England again in 2018. Now that I’ve had a taste of a medal, I want more so need to push on and work hard for the Gold Coast."
Having represented England three times in the Commonwealth Games at Melbourne, Delhi and most recently Glasgow - where she won her first Commonwealth bronze medal - Kelly’s focus has been on refining her training to come back stronger.
“We’ve been looking back at training from Glasgow and tweaking my programme with extra physical and technique work to hopefully do more.”
Winning bronze was more than just a medal for Kelly – it created unforgettable treasured memories to last a lifetime. Pictures of her famous leap of joy after winning the mixed doubles now take pride of place on her wall at home.
“It was a moment that will live with me forever – I’m not happy with just that achievement – I want to go to Australia and create more memories to hang on the wall.”
Kelly, who counts her mother as her inspiration, and took up table tennis at the age of eight, recognises the importance of World Table Tennis Day in raising awareness and increasing participation in the sport.
“It’s been my life for 20 years now. I’d be lost without it. It’s given me some great moments – I’ve travelled the world doing what I love – I wouldn’t change it for the world.
"It’s great that we have World Table Tennis Day to promote and celebrate the sport. I followed lots of the buzz on Twitter with events and activities across the world, and the International Table Tennis Federation set up concrete tables in the streets to get people playing when walking by.”
With the Olympic Games also firmly on the horizon this summer, Kelly is hoping to be one of many Team England representatives on the plane to Rio as she waits to hear if she has been selected for the upcoming European Olympic Qualification Tournament.
“I’m doing the best that I can in training, I feel like I’m playing well. If I get selected the main goal will of course be to qualify for Rio, but if I don’t make selection I know I need to push on and work hard for the Gold Coast.”
With all this travel on the horizon, Kelly knows her roots, and shares her love for England:
“I just love that it’s home. There’s no greater feeling than coming home after travelling the world. It’s nice to go abroad but there’s no place like home.”