Two University of Nottingham Table Tennis players Kelly Sibley (UoN Sport, Table Tennis Head Coach) and student Maria Tsaptsinos (Geography), have both been selected to represent Team England at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018).
Team England, who will be challenging for nine medals across Table Tennis and Para-Table Tennis at Oxenford Studios during GC2018, are set to join over 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 nations and territories in what will be the largest sporting event Australia will host this decade.
The University of Nottingham has a proud history of producing Table Tennis medals at the Commonwealths including Gold for alumni Alex Perry (UoN Sport, Assistant Director of Performance) and Silver for former England No. 1, Nicola Deaton (UoN Graduate, Psychology). The most recent success came in the 2014 Glasgow games which saw Danny Reed (UoN MSc, Brain Imaging) secure a bronze medal in the mixed doubles alongside Kelly Sibley.
Current English U21 champion, Maria Tsaptsinos, is set to take part in her first Commonwealth Games and was thrilled with the news of her selection: “I’m really excited to compete in my first Commonwealth Games and to experience the whole games build up will be amazing. The team have a lot of preparation coming up including the World Team Cup in London which will be brilliant and a great way to try and achieve the best we can do while out there! We are ready to fight and wear the shirt with pride to get as many medals as we can.”
The final year geography student has been in rich vein of form and after winning the Women’s doubles title at the English Championships in 2017, she went on to secure two Golds in the BUCS Table Tennis individuals for 2017/18.
Former London 2012 Olympian, Kelly Sibley, is now set to perform at her 4th Commonwealth Games and was equally delighted with the news, “To be selected for any major Games is always exciting and I’m always really proud to represent England. My first Commonwealths were in Australia in 2006 and to compete there again at my fourth Games is really exciting.
“I remember finishing fourth in Delhi in 2010 and I lost the deciding match against Malaysia. It was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had but I used it to spur myself on and in Glasgow me and Danny [Daniel Reed] played fantastically to win that bronze. I’ve got good memories from Glasgow and it’s still very fresh in the mind even though it was four years ago.”
The Performance Table Tennis team at the University of Nottingham has gone from strength-to-strength under Kelly’s stewardship and in 2016/17 secured 4 out of 5 Golds in BUCS Individuals and 4 Golds (Men’s & Women’s Trophy and Championship) in the team event. Not to be outdone, this year the 2017/18 team won 4 out of 5 Golds at individuals again and look set to make all four Championship finals at BUCS Big Wednesday, set to be held at the University of Nottingham on March 21st, 2018.
As part of their preparation for GC2018, both Kelly and Maria have also been selected as part of the England Women’s team for the World Team Cup at the Copper Box in London 22 – 25 February 2018.