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Slovenia’s Sajn: ‘I Consider Every Competition A Gift'
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2008 Slovenian Olympian Adela Sajn turned 29 on the last day of the recent 2019 European Championships in Szczecin, Poland, and she continues to celebrate her lengthy and successful career.

A mainstay for Slovenia in three Olympic cycles, Sajn (pronounced “shine”) competed on balance beam and floor exercise at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Best among her numerous performances in World Cup or Challenge Cup finals is her silver medal-winning routine on balance beam at the 2016 Challenge Cup of Ljubljana, the city of her birth.

Sajn, who finished 21st on balance beam and 35th on floor exercise in qualifications at Europeans that took place April 10-14, shares her thoughts and experiences in this IG Online interview.

IG: Was competing at Europeans a gift in itself?

AS: After all the injuries I dealt with throughout my career I take nothing for granted. I also battled through serious health issues in 2017 and 2018, which I thought might even end my career. I spent quite some time in and out of the hospital, which was really tough. Ever since my health improved I really consider every competition as a gift. I think I am very lucky I can still do what I love every day.

IG: How would you rate your performance on beam and floor in Szczecin?

AS: I was very nervous prior to this competition as I am not too comfortable performing on the new “soft touch” beam, so I am happy with what I managed to show in the end, although there was still some room for improvement in the execution area. I am very happy with my performance on floor as I managed to show some of my best landings since I started doing floor again, and my pirouettes were pretty clean, as well. But, I was disappointed with my final score. My routine was fairly simple but I thought the execution was not as bad as the judges decided. Overall I am very happy with my performance especially since my statistics at European Championships were not the best.

IG: You were 0.50 away from the beam final, so what do you think you will need to make it into the final in major competitions?

AS: I know where my weakest areas are in the execution department so I will try to work on that, and I definitely need to add a few tenths in my D(ifficulty)-score.

IG: How do you support yourself financially outside of gymnastics?

AS: I am lucky to be employed by one of our public administration departments, which enables me to be involved in sports professionally, but the standards to renew the contract each year are getting tougher and tougher. BTC City, my main sponsor, has been by my side for many years, and I have a scholarship from the Slovenian gymnastics federation.

IG: With so many years competing at the top level, what keeps you motivated to continue at age 29?

AS: I have been in love with this sport since the beginning of my career in 1995, and after investing so much in it, it is hard to just let it go. And I know that once I am finished, there is no turning back; you are done forever. That's why I want to continue doing gymnastics as long as my body lets me and as long as I enjoy it. Another thing that motivates me are my fans who continue to support me. It's really rewarding to see many of them stick around for so long. Gymnastics is not really popular in Slovenia so it is heartwarming to be well-accepted abroad. Gymnastics has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Gymnastics is who I am and I love to express myself through it. So if fans like my gymnastics, that is the ultimate compliment for me.

IG: How many more years do you plan to compete, and how much better do you think you can get?

AS: When I was little I once wrote in my club's New Year's magazine that I will do gymnastics until age 28. How I did that math I have no idea, but obviously I have already surpassed that. I didn't set an exact date for myself but it will definitely not be much longer since there comes a time in life where you focus on other things, as well.

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