8 Jul 2016
SBE student called up for Rio
We are delighted to hear that Accounting and Financial Management BSc student Ian Sloan has been selected to play for Team GB's men's hockey squad at this summer's Rio Olympics!
Having only made his Great Britain debut 12 months ago, Ian Sloan has been on a meteoric rise to the top of international hockey. Born in Northern Ireland, the midfielder had to make the choice between Ireland and GB, and after choosing the latter he has gone from strength to strength, eventually securing a spot on Team GB for the Rio Olympic Games.
Wearing shirt number 31 of 32 in the GB squad, Sloan only joined the GB centralised programme 18 months ago but has clearly made an impression, earning one of the 16 spots on the plane to Rio.
Being a Loughborough University student, the charismatic youngster now has to balance first class hockey with his undergradudate degree, which is no mean feat.
Sloan’s first year at Loughborough didn’t get off to the best of starts, as he broke his foot and missed the first five months of the season.
It wasn’t ideal! Luckily I got back into the swing of things through the help of the physios and strength and conditioning coaches, which made a big difference to my rehab. I had a good couple of months playing but then I broke my foot again, so was out for another nine months!
Thankfully 2014 was much better, as we won BUCS gold and my role in that earned me a GB call up, so that I was able to take up my place on the GB programme.
As you can imagine, balancing a degree from one of the UK's top institutions with senior international hockey, hasn't always been an easy ride.
Being a student-athlete has been a challenge. I’m studying Accounting and Financial Management, which is a pretty tough degree. I spent my first two years doing my course full time, but since then I’ve been able to stretch my final year over two years, so that I can train like a full-time athlete.
The staff in Loughborough have been amazing, ensuring I get the material I need to still do my degree; the biggest challenge comes when I’m away at tournaments or on trips, but I’ve managed it so far!
Hockey runs in the family, Sloan’s dad an international star in his own right.
My dad played for Ireland and Great Britain in the days where you didn’t have to choose between the two, as Ireland didn’t try to qualify for the Olympics. He received 149 caps for Ireland and was the captain for 10 years. He’s been a great influence on my career.
So what about when the young man from Cookstown got the call to say he would be fulfilling a boyhood dream of becoming an Olympian?
I was at home with my parents and my brother, which made it very special. I was quite surprised but also very excited! It was just a great moment for us all, as I know my family have sacrificed a lot and put a lot into my hockey, so it was great to celebrate with them.
The Olympics is the tournament I’ve wanted to play in since I was a child. Everyone grows up watching the Olympics and cheering on your sporting heroes, so for me to become a part of that and become a part of Team GB is fantastic, and hopefully we can go on and win an Olympic medal.
Despite his rapid rise to the top, the 22 year old lives by a simple mantra in order to not be phased by what’s going on around him.
I try not to think too far ahead, instead focusing on what I can do on a daily basis to keep on improving.
Simple yet effective, as he’s off to Rio! Good luck, Ian, we'll be cheering you! #RoadtoRio