November 17, 2017, by Cara McIsaac-Hall
#NottsGirlsCan – Kelly Sibley
Across the country this week, universities are celebrating females in sport with the This BUCS Girl Can campaign championed by British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS).
Here at University of Nottingham, we’re featuring a sportswoman every day who we’re proud to count as part of our #NottsGirlsCan community. From Team GB athlete to complete beginner they all have one thing in common – sport has been a huge part of their lives and they want to share it with everyone!
Fourth in our series, we chat to Kelly Sibley – current head coach of the University of Nottingham table tennis programme and London 2012 Olympian.
Why table tennis?
I’ve always loved sport and used to play football all the time with my dad and brothers. It was my mum that introduced me to table tennis – she had played at a high level before herself. Table tennis has been my life and as well as the competitive side, the social aspect is so important to me.
What has sport taught you?
Playing elite sport makes you mentally tough. I’ve had to fight back from injury and other setbacks time and time again to get where I want to be in my career and I come out a stronger person each time.
Who inspires you?
Dame Kelly Holmes is incredible – winning two Olympic gold medals is an amazing achievement. I read her autobiography and I completely relate to how she had to give up so much of a ‘normal’ childhood to reach her goals.
I moved to Nottingham at 13 years old to train at the National Academy, which meant changing schools and living away from home. Initially I was really home sick to but I don’t regret it at all – that decision was key to many of my career achievements.
What’s your favourite moment of your career?
In 2014 Danny Reed and I won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. That feeling will stay with me forever and I still get goosebumps when I think about it.
And the funniest?
When I competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India, there were loads of birds and monkeys in the hall where we were playing. Very surreal!
On those dark early mornings, what gets you out of bed for training?
I just have to remind myself why I do it and remember all those amazing moments, like walking out into the Olympic Stadium at the London 2012 opening ceremony. Those experiences are addictive and I just want to have as many as I can!
One piece of advice you’d give?
Never give up and you will always achieve, no matter the level.
Share your #NottsGirlCan experiences and photos with us on Twitter @UoNSport or Instagram @UoNSport and we’ll share our favourites each day!