95.4 percent: that’s the overwhelming result that Elena Antova received when she successfully candidate for Financial Director of AEGEE-Europe at the Agora in Alicante in April 2011. To a big surprise, the other candidate Gökhan Güzel did not show up and present himself at all. So Elena got an easy victory. The former member of AEGEE-Europe’s Audit Commission is member of AEGEE-Sofia. When she presented her candidature, a lot of astounded whispering was in the audience when Elena said that she was vice-champion in boxing in Bulgaria. The Golden Oldie wanted to know more about it – and the new charming Financial Director granted this interview.


Golden Oldie: Elena, congratulations to your election for Financial Director with such a great result! But what happened to the other candidate? You know something about it?

Elena Antova: Thank you! I didn’t know that the other candidate is not coming. I learned about that during the Agora, but I don’t know the reason. I hope, it is not something serious and everything is ok with him!


Golden Oldie: Are the rumours true that he disappeared after he heard you are Bulgarian vice-champion in boxing?

Elena: One of the reasons, I was hesitating, either to include my sport awards in the presentation was that, usually when people hear about boxing they just disappear… No matter what you were talking about, when they hear “boxing” they all do a step back literally – even in my antenna it was forbidden to talk about that in front of the new members, because they are getting really scared. For example: “This is our treasurer. She was training boxing and has some awards – so watch out, if you don’t pay your fee on time.” No one will ever expect to see this people again. So, I wouldn’t be surprised, if this was also the reason the other candidate didn’t come. Actually, I am really grateful that the other newly elected CD members didn’t disappear, after realising that they have to live and work together with me for one year. Thank you, guys!


Golden Oldie: Are you still boxing as a hobby? How often do you practice?

Elena: No, unfortunately, I am not boxing anymore. I hurt one of my legs a few years ago badly, so I had to cancel my plans for a sports career. However, I don’t regret about that. In Bulgaria, we are saying: “Each bad thing has its good side”. I entered in the university, joined AEGEE and met so many great friends, things which were never going to happen, if I had continued with my sport. I do swim and go to the gym from time to time, but I prefer not to load myself too much.


Golden Oldie: Do you have a nickname, like “Tyson”?

Elena: Some people are calling me “Boxie”, but I really don’t like it. It doesn’t present me in very positive way. Someone called me like that in my university and now some of my colleges know the nickname, but not my real name. And this is sometimes funny, because now no one dares to argue with me about anything…


Golden Oldie: And now this image might follow you in AEGEE…

Elena: I prefer to be popular in AEGEE for the things I am doing, not because of the things I achieved in the past. Of course, my sport achievements, not only in the boxing, but also in the tennis and athletics are things I am really proud with, but now it is time to go forward.


Golden Oldie: How did you start boxing in first place?

Elena: Since I was five, I was playing one or another kind of sport. I spent 12 years on the tennis court, I practiced athletics for four years and when I was 15, I went to my first boxing training. I have always wanted to practice such a kind of sport. I was hesitating between karate and boxing. You already know which one won. I was studying in a Sports Gymnasium and I graduated as a Sports Manager and Boxing Coach Assistant. I had plans to continue my education in the Sports Academy, but things changed.


Golden Oldie: Is boxing really such a rough sports as every says?

Elena: Boxing is indeed a rough sport, but which one is not? At my time there were no girls at the club, where I was training, so I had to get prepared for the competitions with the guys and they were hitting really bad. Of course, I never had serious injuries, but once I broke the nose of one girl. This is something you can often see on the ring.


Golden Oldie: What other hobbies do you have?

Elena: I love reading. This is the easiest way to move from one place to another. These days, unfortunately I don’t have so much time for this, but in every possible occasion I am trying to compensate. I also like listening to rock music, mostly German and mostly Industrial, but I also like folk rock. My favourite band is Rammstein and some friends were even joking, that the band plus the boxing sounds too dangerous. Whenever I have time, I like to learn a new language. I have studied English, German and Russian, and thanks to our place on the map, I understand and I am trying to speak also Serbian. I was really happy, when I learned that there will be two linguists in the CD house during the next term, so I hope to learn at least one more language.


Golden Oldie: In AEGEE you were Audit Commissioner, now Financial Director. Was dealing with money your main occupation in AEGEE?

Elena: Dealing with money is my favourite occupation in AEGEE. I started with being a treasurer of my antenna and I liked it so much, that I am having now my second term. I am also part of the greenest team of the network, being Human Resources board member of the Environmental Working Group, where I am helping for some of our initiatives like the European Day of Environment. I am also “green” mentor in the Green SU campaign. The ES2 in Poznan helped me a lot for my personal development. There I realised what I really want to do in AEGEE: to help other members. Therefore, now I am a mentee in AEGEE-Academy’s ProTrain Program for future trainers.


Golden Oldie: What motivates you to become CD member?

Elena: Some people are thinking that after the Audit Commission the most rational thing is to apply for Financial Director, because this is just the next step. For me it is not like that. Being part of the CD is a great responsibility and you have to be sure that you can handle it. The future of the association is in your hands and you have to be aware, how important AEGEE is for you, in order to devote a year of your life to its development.


Golden Oldie: What do you want to do or improve as Financial Director?

Elena: The position of the Financial Director is for sure the one, where you can’t have a lot of innovations. Among your tasks is to take care for the bookkeeping, making payments, reserving tickets, helping and supporting the treasurers and as I recently understood working a lot with photocopier. There is one thing, I am thinking to create. And this is a mailing list, connecting all treasurers. Sometimes people that have nothing in common with accounting are becoming treasurers of their locals. With this list they could get any kind of help.


Golden Oldie: Financial Director is a task with great flexibility. Usually the Financial Director has time to support the other CD members with their thematic tasks. What are you interested in?

Elena: I would be glad to help to the other members of the Comite Directeur everywhere where needed. Of course there are fields where I am less or more competent. The thing, which I really like, is the taking care of Human Resources. It is connected with my studies and something I really want to do in my future work in AEGEE.


Golden Oldie: You’ll leave Bulgaria. What will you miss from your home country?

Elena: I am counting the days to my travel to Brussels with mixed feelings. On one hand, I really want to go and to start my work there, to start living with these great people, which for one year will be my new family. But on the other hand, there are many things I will be missing, mostly my friends and family. Of course, we will keep in touch and some of them are already having plans to come to visit me. Today I was watching the wind shaking the leaves of the trees on my street and I was thinking, that I will miss these colours, or that I will miss the smell of the sky before storm. It is so good that in Brussels it is raining a lot. Every day, I find something charming in my home town, which I have never noticed before.


Golden Oldie: Can you imagine living abroad for more years? Or will you go back immediately after your CD term ends?

Elena: First, I feel European, than Bulgarian. I believe in the idea of a free and united Europe and I am sure that no matter on which part of the continent I am, I will feel like home. I have some plans for making my Master programme abroad and I already have selected some programmes at different universities. I hope they will select me as well!