EUSA Insider:

Ivan Vrbnjak

Age:                  20
Place of Birth:  Zadar, Croatia
University:        University of Zadar (CRO)
Sport:                Water Polo                                                                                        Published 3 March 2020

How and why did you get involved in Water Polo?
Water Polo wasn’t my first sport. The people of Zadar claim that basketball was invented in Zadar, it is the one of the few symbols of the city and that is why almost every kid tried it. I started to play basketball at the age of 5 and got involved in Water Polo at the age of 9, at the suggestion of a cousin. It was hard for me to deal with both sports at the same time, so I chose Water Polo. The team was great and I fell in love “at the first sight”.

What do you study, and how do you balance your study, training and competition?
I study Management at the University of Zadar, in the Department of Economics. To balance studying and sport is hard, but it is not impossible. The key to success is to have good organisation. You need to have a good plan and stick with it because there is not so much free time, and you will sometimes have to give up social life in order to be successful in both fields. The huge help surely comes from university, where I am treated like a sportsman, having some benefits that helps me a lot in terms of productivity on both ends.


Tell us about your experiences at previous EUSA events, or if EUG2020 is your first EUSA Competition, tell us a little bit how you got involved in it?
The competition in Belgrade will be my first EUSA event, but I hope it will not be the last. I got involved in it when our university took the status of National University Champion in Vukovar at the end of 2018. It was the huge step forward for our university because it was the first gold medal ever in team sports, so with that in mind we have the huge honour of representing Croatia in this year’s event.

What are you looking forward to most in Belgrade, and what are your aspirations?
Well firstly, I am looking forward to meeting new people involved in sports, talking with them, making new friendships and getting some new knowledge and experience about other sports and cultures. However, we will not come just to meet new people and have fun, we will try to give as much as we can in the pool, hopefully get a good result and make our university proud. Mainly, in Belgrade I expect some good energy between all the competitors.

“In Belgrade I expect some good energy between all the competitors.”

Why do you think taking part in university sport is important?
In my opinion, taking part in university sport is very important because you get some new experience from the people you share the field with. At the end, sport in general can shape you as a better person in the future and help you achieve goals in both careers.

What is your most memorable university sport moment?
Surely, when we lifted the trophy that made us National University Champions.


What is your message to European student-athletes like yourself?
My message for all the student-athletes is to never quit. Sport can be cruel, it can be hard to balance both careers, but it is important to keep going on and fight. Someday in the future you will be proud of yourself when you look back and see what you achieved.

EUSA would like to thank Ivan for his time, and we look forward to seeing him soon, at the 2020 European Universities Games in Belgrade, Serbia!