STEWIACKE, N.S. – When Kelsa Sibley attends the Canada Winter Games next week in Red Deer, Alta., she will be following in the footsteps of her older sister Lindsay.
Kelsa will compete in the sport of table tennis during Week 1 of the Games, beginning Feb. 15. Lindsay was also a member of the Nova Scotia Canada Games table tennis team at the 2015 event in Prince George, B.C.
“It’s pretty great,” said Kelsa, 17, from Stewiacke. “It’s just nice to say that I can do the same as she did.
“It’s always been my goal since I started, so now that it’s finally here is unbelievable.”
Kelsa, a Grade 11 student at Cobequid Educational Centre, started playing table tennis about three years ago and is currently the No. 3-ranked U18 female player in the province. She practises regularly in Middle Musquodoboit, under the guidance of coach Joe Fisher, and also trains in Dartmouth with Canada Games coach Erica Ans.
“Kelsa has improved a lot since the beginning of Canada Games selection,” said Ans. “Her backhand has improved the most and she is able to change directions well.
“She is a great kid,” added Ans. “She works hard, listens well and tries to apply the coaching advice given to her right away.”
The Canada Games will be Kelsa’s second big competition this season. As a member of the Canada Games core team, she competed at the North American Teams Tournament in Washington, D.C., last November. More than 1,000 athletes played in that event.
At Canada Games, Kelsa will play singles, and will team up with Carmen VanWychen of Middle Musquodoboit in doubles competition.
“It’ll just be a really different experience playing. Because here, we play the same players at every tournament pretty much, but now I’ll get to play a lot more different people.”
As a first-week athlete, Kelsa looks forward to being part of the Games’ opening ceremonies, which will take place at the Red Deer Centrium arena the evening of Feb. 15.
“I’m pretty excited to walk in with all the blue on,” she smiled.
The trip out west will also provide her with an opportunity to spend time with an aunt, uncle and cousins in Calgary, which is about 150 km south of Red Deer.
“I’ll probably have a few nights that I can go out and visit with them,” said Kelsa, whose dad Jeff will also make the trip. “It’s pretty great to have them right there.”
The Canada Winter Games is two weeks of competition featuring 19 sports and more than 3,600 athletes, coaches and managers.
Following is a list of Colchester County athletes/coaches attending Canada Games:
Isabelle Henderson, Truro
Jenna Faulkner, Truro
Lily Oakley, Truro
Lauren Boyd, Truro
Caelan Shaw, Truro
Thor During (coach), Great Village
Emma Stevens (coach), Hilden
Lindsey Smith, Onslow
Tanner Greatorex, Truro
Sam Archibald, Debert
Matt Chiasson (support), Stewiacke
Kelsa Sibley, Stewiacke
Jordyn Henderson, Truro
Krista Henderson (manager), Truro