LEAMINGTON’S Kelly Sibley has announced her retirement from England international duty, just days after winning her second Commonwealth Games medal.
The 29-year-old has represented her country at Senior level since 2003, competing at the full range of events including European and World Championships and, for Great Britain, the London 2012 Olympics and the inaugural European Games in Baku in 2015.
She goes out on a high, having been part of the England team which won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Australia earlier this month, adding to the mixed doubles bronze she won alongside Danny Reed at Glasgow 2014.
That followed the highlight of competing at the ITTF Team World Cup in front of a home crowd at the Copper Box Arena in February.
Kelly feels now is the right time to end her international career and concentrate on her role as head coach at the University of Nottingham.
“After an amazing and successful Commonwealths and a long international career, I feel that this is the right time in my life for it all to come to an end,” he said.
“It’s been an absolute privilege and pleasure to represent my country in all kinds of events, from Cadet and Junior level all the way up to Senior level competing at the Europeans, World Championships, European Games, Commonwealth Games and the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“Also to have numerous national titles to my name is amazing.
“I would like to say a big thank-you to everyone who has supported me along the way as without your support none of this would of been possible.
“I would like to thank Table Tennis England, Team England, UK Sport, BOA and the place where it all began, Lillington Free Church Table Tennis Club.
“I want to say a special mention to Alan Cooke for everything that he has done for me, he has not only been my coach right from the beginning but also a very good friend and I owe a lot to him.
“I would like to say a special and huge thank-you to my parents for everything that they have done, from the early morning starts to and from training and competitions and also their continued support on and off the table.
“Without them I would not have achieved what I have done today, they have been with me through the ups and downs of my career and I’d like to dedicate my bronze medal that we won in the women’s team at the Commonwealths 2018 to them.
“I would also like to thank my wife Laura, for her continued support in helping me achieve my dreams.
“She has kept me calm when times have been hard and also spurred me on to be the best I can be. I love you lots and now it’s time for us to start the next chapter of our life together.
“I will now put all my attention into my head coaching role at the University of Nottingham and my goal is to make the table tennis set-up the best it can be.
“I would like to wish my England team-mates the best of luck for the up and coming European Championships matches and world championships and of course future events. Keep flying the flag high and do us all proud and I will be supporting you all the way.
“Thank you to everyone once again – it’s been a pleasure.”
Kelly has competed at the World Championships 11 times, the European Championships eight times and the Commonwealth Championships four times, where she won both team and Women’s Doubles silver medals in 2013.
She twice featured in English Opens, in 2009 and 2011.
At the Nationals, she has five Senior Women’s Singles titles, seven in the Women’s Doubles and three in the Mixed Doubles and previously won every competition, singles and doubles, available to her at Cadet, Junior and Under-21 level.