Sibley hoping to prolong ‘best experience of her life’

Kelly Sibley is hoping to prolong “the best experience of her life” when Great Britain’s table tennis team start their Olympic campaign against North Korea today (Friday).

It is a tough draw for the host nation, with all three Koreans ranked higher than them - Joanna Parker is the highest-ranked Briton at 119 in the world.

However, despite their opponents being an unknown quantity, Sibley believes the home support can be an important factor in securing a GB victory.

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“We don’t know too much about them as they only play worlds,” said Sibley who will also be joined in the GB team by Na Liu

“They’re all in the top 40 in the world, but we’ve all beaten top-40 players so we just need it to come together on the day.

“The atmosphere in the hall is unbelievable and sends shivers down the spine and that can only help us.”

Sibley, who missed out on selection for the singles after picking up a hip injury, is now fully recovered after a tough period of rehabilitation.

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And, while disappointed not to take part in the individual event, it does mean she has had more time to enjoy the Olympic Village.

Listing a string of household names that she has seen around the park, including Chris Hoy, Usain Bolt, Ryan Giggs and Rebecca Adlington, the 23-year-old is clearly loving her first taste of life as an Olympic athlete.

“It feels like a different world,” she said.

“Team GB are all together and the team spirit is really, really good, with everyone asking you when you are on and wishing you luck.

“I can’t explain the feeling. It’s probably been the best experience of my life. Friday night’s opening ceremony will be something I remember forever.”