The contest was organized by ITMO’s KronBars sports club, a five-time winner of the title Best Russian Student Sports Club. According to Dmitry Rusanov, the club’s general manager, they were inspired by scholarships of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which have been supporting students in the US for over 50 years.

“We strive to not only bring in talented athletes, but also create the conditions for them to combine their studies with training sessions so that they could represent the university at tournaments and achieve great results. We believe that this can be done through a collaboration between ITMO’s administration, our club, and the athletes themselves. It’s a strategic project that launched in February 2021 and we are hoping to develop strong sports programs at the university in a couple of years – for now, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” shares Dmitry Rusanov. 

Several stages made up the KRONBARS.STARS contest. First, participants had to provide a portfolio of their sports achievements. Then they took part in interviews during which they’d need to demonstrate their academic potential and motivation. And the final decision on each participant was made after they took part in trials observed by coaches of ITMO’s teams. 

We asked the winners about the reasons they take part in sports contests, the things that helped them win, and their dreams for the future. 

Mikhail Petrov, Petrozavodsk 

Member of ITMO’s futsal team 

Mikhail Petrov. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

Mikhail Petrov. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

I’ve been playing football for 11 years, since I was only six years old. In the winter, we would always switch to futsal, so I have experience in playing it, too. 

Our school team won several prizes and championships in Karelia and the Russian North-West, and we even entered the national championship a few times, but didn’t get any prizes there. 

A year ago I decided to enter a St. Petersburg-based university. I was thinking of studying economics. This summer, I learned about the contest that would give me the chance to study business informatics, so I knew I had to participate.

I am not sure what I want to be yet – with this program, I can become either a business analyst or a manager. For now, I am planning to earn good grades and get ready for the interuniversity championship. 

I like it at ITMO, there are many opportunities and perks for students here.

Nikita Levashov, Yekaterinburg

Member of ITMO’s futsal team

Nikita Levashov. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

Nikita Levashov. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

I’ve been playing football since first grade, a total of 11 years. My older brother started doing it first – he would tell me a lot about his games, so I asked my parents to put me in a sports club, too. And now football is a major part of my life. 

I went to an Olympic Reserve School and was on the Sverdlovsk Oblast football team. I even trained with the Ural football club for a while. In the summer, we would take part in the Russian national football championship, and in fall and spring we would have futsal training. Thanks to this experience, I’ll try my hand at both football and futsal at ITMO, even though I am more confident in the latter. 

I won the national championship and our team also took second place in the junior league of the national professional football championship. 

I chose business informatics because the program seemed interesting – and my parents approved of it. I hadn’t heard of ITMO before I was invited to take part in the contest, but since February it was the only university I was ready to enroll at. To be honest, I wanted to move to Moscow or St. Petersburg in any case to grow and live on my own, so this invitation was really welcome. 

My dream is to be a professional football player, but I know that education is important so I am planning to study hard. Of course, it’s not easy to combine studies and a career in sports, but I’ve always had good grades because I really wanted to study. I think I will manage – ITMO gives many opportunities to grow in different fields. 

Vyacheslav Zapisetsky, Yaroslavl 

Point guard of ITMO’s basketball team 

Vyacheslav Zapisetsky. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

Vyacheslav Zapisetsky. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

As a kid, I tried many sports: volleyball, swimming, futsal, chess, and hiking. In fourth grade, I got into basketball because it fit me perfectly – it’s so dynamic and involves a lot of teamwork. The game itself is interesting, with plenty of spectacular moments. 

Every year, our team took part in the national championship and we’ve won the regional championship twice. We also took part in the European Junior Championships and we won the Golden Ring League (regional championship) several times. 

By tenth grade, I knew I wanted to study in St. Petersburg. Last winter, I settled on business informatics. My top universities were Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University and St. Petersburg University of Economics. Then, this summer I saw a post about KRONBARS.STARS on VK and sent my application. I went to several trials and fortunately I got in. 

We had a focus on maths and informatics at school, and I also really like economics, so I think I will really enjoy my classes here.

I am not sure yet what I will be after I graduate. Maybe I’ll manage IT projects – I like to think it’s true teamwork, much like in team sports. 

So far, ITMO is incredible! I was surprised by the opportunities and conditions here. I like everything and I have no regrets choosing ITMO over other universities. I don’t know if there will be time for me to partake in other activities with all the training, but I really like being involved in everything. For instance, I’ve heard that Megabattle is really fun, so I am thinking of participating. 

My plans are to train a lot and grow, to play in the student league, and help the team reach great heights.

Maria Basalyk, St. Petersburg

Center of ITMO’s basketball team

Maria Basalyk. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

Maria Basalyk. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

I’ve been playing basketball since I was 10. My mom is a Master of Sports in volleyball and she’s always wanted me to be into sports. And anyhow, my height (I’m almost 190 centimeters tall) has always meant people would suggest I join a club. At one point, I was into three different sports at once: swimming, volleyball, and basketball. But in the end, I went with basketball, probably because of its team spirit.

I attended an Olympic Reserve school and took part in lots of different competitions. In elementary school, I competed in a city-wide championship. Our team was always in the top three; we placed first a couple times and won the silver on another two occasions. When I turned 14, I started going to the national championship – first with a club, then as part of the city’s select team. At the most recent championship, we placed first among all city teams, which is a pretty great result. There were lots of international competitions, such as the EuroLeague. We won a few competitions in Latvia and took gold and silver in Belarus. I was also on the junior line-up of Spartak when they won the Neva League for two years in a row.

Last year, when I was in 11th grade, I joined a team of the St. Petersburg branch of RANEPA as a “reinforcement player” (a player from an external educational institution – Ed.). We were ranked among the top four student teams in Russia and played in the superfinals of the Belov League (the championship held by the Student Basketball Association – Ed.). It could take a while to name all of my awards – it’s quite a list.

I had a lot of universities to choose from, but I picked ITMO because it’s a better university and also because it lets you combine studies and sports training effortlessly. I chose business informatics as a field of study in order to become a great crisis manager or business analyst. I’ve always been interested in economics and I’m really into that subject. I’d like to make a career in that field, develop strategies for companies, do crisis planning, and so on.

As for sports, my main goal right now is to make sure our team makes it into the first league and gets back into the top division. It’s a very demanding task, so we’ll need to train really hard in the coming year.

Polina Korchagina, St. Petersburg

Member of ITMO’s rowing team

Polina Korchagina. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

Polina Korchagina. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

I’ve been rowing for five years since I was in seventh grade. It was a complete accident: a coach came to our PE class at school and invited me to a training session at Krestovsky Island. It was the start of the school year and all the girls joined dancing, volleyball, or basketball clubs – I wasn’t too interested in that. It seemed like you could do those things at regular PE classes just as easily. But rowing was something I’d never heard of before, so I decided to give it a try. Before that, I tried my hand at tennis, dancing, and volleyball, but those were short-lived pursuits. With rowing, it was different. All the meetups, trips, and competitions have made my life much more interesting.

On two occasions, I placed first at the national championship in the under-17 category; on three occasions – in the under-19 category. I joined the St. Petersburg select team, trained with them for a year, went to international competitions, and placed fifth at the European championship and second at the national Spartakiade.

I chose ITMO because I wanted to study business informatics specifically, and ITMO seems to me like the best place in St. Petersburg to study that subject. I believe that this field will be highly relevant in the future, as all aspects of our lives are becoming digitized nowadays. In the future, I’d like to start with business analytics, as it seems like the easiest field to launch a career in with my major. After that, I’ll try my hand at any field I can.

Maksim Trukhin, St. Petersburg

Member of ITMO’s rowing team

Maksim Trukhin. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

Maksim Trukhin. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

I’ve been training as a rower for four years, since I was in 8th grade. I heard about this sport from my parents and it caught my interest. Before that, I did swimming, pentathlon, and wrestling. I got great results and won a few events, but I didn’t like those sports much.

Rowing is a team sport that is very much loved by universities. I also like the fact that training take place outside and we travel to the southern regions for training meetups.

I won the national rowing championship in the under-19 category, as well as various city-wide competitions. I finished third at the national championship among the under-17’s. I attended a lot of training sessions with the national select team, but haven’t gone to any international competitions yet.

I chose business informatics because it seems like a very promising field – almost like economics, but with a modern twist. I really wanted to get into ITMO specifically, as it’s a very well-known university, one of the best in IT. A lot of my friends wanted to apply here, too, so I grabbed at the opportunity right away.

I hope that my athletic career will grow in parallel with my studies. I’d like to win the national championship before I turn 23, so I’ll give it a try next year.

Veronika Kvasova, St. Petersburg

member of ITMO’s futsal team

Veronika Kvasova. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

Veronika Kvasova. Photo by Dmirty Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

I’ve been playing futsal for five years now. I took it up on my own volition, as my parents were very much against it. My mom said it’s not a sport for women and wanted me to learn dancing and dad said that it’s dangerous. He’s a football player himself and took me to games all the time. I think I got into futsal after being inspired by him.

I attended a sports school, went on lots of trips with a team, won the city-wide championship and placed second at the national one.

I found out about KRONBARS.STARS through ads on social media. I left my name and phone number and then got a call. They told me all about the program and I decided to give it a try.

I’d considered applying to ITMO, but my USE score wasn’t high enough. So this was a great opportunity to enroll without stressing out about my exam scores.

I’ve wanted to study management or something else business-related since I was in ninth grade. I don’t have any programming skills, but I believe that if I apply myself and truly want it, I’ll succeed. Besides, you need knowledge of computer science in any work – both today and in the future.

For now, I plan to study well, train, and find work in my field of study, as well as find an internship to acquire practical experience. I’d like to develop my athletic career, too, but in a way that wouldn’t interfere with my studies. I want to win the student championship and I also plan to take part in the city-wide women’s championship – I’d like to win something there, too.

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