Kelly Sibley insists the pressure is off her England women’s team when they compete in the forthcoming World Team Championships in Malaysia.
Ranked 32, the England trio of Kelly Sibley, Tin-Tin Ho and Karina Le Fevre have been drawn to face the second division’s top seeds in the form of Serbia plus Canada (34), Belgium (39), Turkey (42) and New Zealand (48) in Group E.
They take on Turkey first up on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, with their male counterparts Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker also competing in the top division of the men’s competition for the first time since 1997.
And Sibley, who won mixed doubles bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, is confident women’s team can put on a good showing.
“Serbia are the No 1 seeds and would normally be in the top division, but Malaysia have taken their spot as hosts, so they will have a point to prove to show they deserve to be in that top division,” she told Table Tennis England.
“But we’ve got no pressure and we can cause them problems and maybe get an unexpected win. I know two of their players quite well – Anamaria Erdelji is in my French league team (Schiltigheim) and I’m the same age as Gabriela Feher so we’ve played each other all the way through the age groups. It’s going to be tough, but if we play well, we’ve got a chance.
“I think it’s quite a tough group. If the other teams put out their strong players, it will be difficult but if we play well and get behind each other we can get some decent wins. The main goal is to go up, but we just want to perform well.”