Students travel to Kazakhstan for World University Winter Games

3 February 2017

Supported by the Alumni Fund, student athletes from Nottingham Trent University are competing in the world’s biggest winter student games in Almaty, Kazakhstan as they represent Great Britain across three sports.

Joining 2,500 athletes from around the world, the students are participating in the 2017 Winter Universiade, also known as the World University Winter Games – which returns for its 28th year.

The games, which run until 8 February, see students Joe Gretton, (BA Hons Media and Film & TV), and teammate Tom Hovell, (BSc Hons Mathematics), compete in the GB men’s hockey team. Also representing Great Britain are Lucy Kendall, (BA Hons Criminology), and Holly Steeples, (BSc Hons Architectural Technology) on the women’s hockey team. Joining the GB squad as assistant coach to women’s hockey is Ryan Rathbone, who studies (BSc Hons Coaching and Sport Science), and Charles Parry-Evans (BSc Hons Sport Science and Exercise) is also competing as the only athlete to represent the UK in the figure skating competition.

Student Lucy Kendall said: “Preparation for myself and the team has been going really well. I’m really excited to be representing Nottingham Trent University and Great Britain at an international event. I know we are going to come up against some tough oppositions but the experience of competing at this level will be phenomenal."

The students join athletes from 12 different sports, which are expected to draw in millions of TV viewers as the games are broadcast around the world.

“It’s great to get on the ice in Kazakhstan, it’s going to be a great experience being part of this huge event and playing against some top nations,” said Tom Hovell.

Joe Gretton added: “It’s going to be a fantastic experience competing in the Olympic standard facilities, against top division nations such as Canada and the USA.”

Assistant coach Ryan Rathbone said: “The team have been working hard in preparation for the competition. We know we are coming up against strong opposition, however we are confident in the team and the work they have done so far. The number of students travelling to the games from Nottingham Trent University shows the excellent sporting support and opportunities on offer.”

Held every two years, the games bring participants from over 50 countries and are widely-recognised as the second largest multisport games after the Olympics.

In order to compete in Team GB, student athletes were required to raise funds – help from the university’s Alumni Fund offered support to each student for these costs.

James Hayter, Director of Sport at NTU said: “The university is well known for its strength in ice hockey, and this is reflected in the talent of our four students competing.

“In addition, our graduate Charles Parry-Evans has does fantastically well to be selected as the only figure skater representing Great Britain. We wish our students the best of luck.”

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