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Meet the Royal Holloway post grad representing GB in the World University Winter Games

He’ll be representing the country in March

Ivan Antonov, an ice hockey scholar at Royal Holloway, has been selected to represent Great Britain later this year at the World University Winter Games in Russia.

The 2019 Winter Universiade will be held in Krasnoyarsk, Russia from the second to the 12th March. Great Britain's first match will be played against Canada at the Crystal Ice Arena on March second.

The Royal Holloway Tab spoke to Ivan about his sport.

How did you get into ice hockey? How long have you been playing?

I am Russian, so naturally my parents sent me to figure skating school quite early on, at the age of three. After a year of figure skating, I got scouted by a coach, who suggested that I join the local ice hockey team. I’ve been playing ice hockey ever since so that totals up to around 17 years.

What were some of the challenges you faced when starting to play?

I started playing ice hockey at a really young age. Consequently, I don’t remember the early challenges except for the fact that all the jerseys were three sizes too big for me, so I would be skating around, while my jersey would [be] dragging along the floor behind me like a dress. However, throughout the years a constant challenge I faced was staying dedicated to the training regime and intense lifestyle.

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Photos courtesy of Ivan Antonov

How do you balance your sporting life with university?

At the start, it was quite hard juggling between university and hockey commitments, but after a while, I refined the process and discovered a few hacks to use my time more effectively. I guess, last year was the most challenging, partly because it was the last year of my undergraduate degree, but also because my team was making a great national title/playoff run.

What considerations – such as diet or exercise – do you have to keep in mind?

I have on training and gym sessions most weekdays, with normally a home and an away game on the weekends. As I have been doing it for so long, it has become sort of a habit for me. Due to the high amount of physical exercise, I don’t really have a strict diet but have to be sensible with the amount of drinking and takeaways.

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Ivan representing Team GB

Who is your sporting role model?

I would probably have to say Roger Federer, because of the way he handles himself as a professional and his dedication to his sport.

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Finally, what advice would you give to somebody who is interested giving ice hockey a go?

My biggest advice would be to learn how to ice skate first and not to be afraid of falling at the start.