LEAMINGTON’S Kelly Sibley is preparing to head to Scotland to compete in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. On Tuesday, Sibley took a break from a Table Tennis England team training session in Lilleshall to chat to Amy Flynn about her hopes for the event, which takes place from July 23 to August 3.
TABLE tennis star Kelly Sibley has revealed she is in the best physical state of her life in preparation for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The 26-year-old has recently recovered from a hip injury and, thanks to good rehabilitation and great support from her family, she is fit and raring to go.
Sibley has also recently completed a training camp in China and will be completing another in Glasgow before the games start on July 23.
The multiple UK Junior Champion, who will compete in the women’s singles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles and women’s team event, said: “The advice that got me through my injury was ‘always try your best, don’t give up’ and, by not giving up, I have the opportunity to compete in my third Commonwealth Games and I’m feeling really positive.”
After narrowly missing out on a team bronze medal in the Delhi Commonwealth Games in India four years ago, Sibley is certain she has improved as an individual, as have the rest of her England women’s squad team-mates, who are Joanna Drinkhall, Tin-Tin Ho, Hannah Hicks and Karina Le Fevre.
The London 2012 Olympian is hopeful this will give them the edge to win a medal this time around.
“Although my preparations haven’t been hugely different for this tournament, it is a bigger event, therefore both in my head and my heart I want this a little bit more than any other competition.” she said.
“I don’t want the disappointment of Delhi again because that was utterly heart-breaking.”
When she was younger Sibley – a silver medallist at the 2013 Commonwealth Championship – played football, but in secondary school she had to choose between that and table tennis.
It would appear she chose wisely as the Lillington Free Church Table Tennis Club prodigy is now England’s second ranked women’s table tennis player.
Sibley, who also appeared at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, has had a busy schedule in the build-up to Glasgow, but when she does have some free time she revealed it was often spent with her family.
“My favourite thing is to have down time with my family and I adore my niece who is three. My family are really important to me and have always been there for me and pushed me through the hard times that came along with having a sports injury.” she said.
The Glasgow games will also present the amiable Sibley with the chance to represent the same England team as a sporting star she admires.
When asked which fellow Commonwealth Games athlete’s autograph she would prefer, she answered: “It would have to be Mo Farah. What he achieved in the London Olympics was truly legendary and it’s exciting to know he will be competing in Glasgow too and that we are part of the same team.”
The right-handed player also won ten consecutive international matches at the 2011 European Championships in Poland and has a Division Two gold medal from the World Team Championships of 2008 in China.
Another medal won north of the border this summer would be a hugely welcome addition to her medal haul.