Tanja is an attractive 39-year-old, mother of 15-year-old Nika, and an economist, employed at Adriatic Slovenica Insurance Company. Her life turned upside down 12 years ago. She was attending sports games in Poreč with a group of co-workers, when she fell a few metres deep at the hotel and injured her spine. Her daughter was only two and a half years old at the time, but she had to go on living. And Tanja is a real athlete and confident woman, who wants and knows how to learn something good from something bad. Now, after ending her active sports career, her partner gave her a Labrador called Ajša for her birthday. Now, no walk is too much for her. "Lying on the couch is no longer an option," as this sportswoman says with a laugh and recommends being active to everyone.
"I follow and believe in spinal injury treatment research. Campaigns such as this are important, because they help us to become aware that spinal injuries can happen to anyone, truly anyone! Life should be taken as a gift and we should fight for it." These are the words of the former para-Olympian, who will be attending the WFWR run on 3 May together with her co-workers in the Adriatic Slovenica Team.
Tanja trained as an athlete from an early age. After her spinal injury and years of training, she achieved even more than before, since it was only after her injury when she engaged in full training and discipline. She won 5th and 7th places in the javelin throwing at the para-Olympic games in Beijing and London. She holds the national record with 21.94 metres, which also remains the leading result in the world record. We asked her what gives her energy.
"I don't know exactly, but I think that I could not cope if the people closest to me would had not stood by me in the most difficult time. My family, sisters, mother, father, partner, my sunshine – my daughter Nika – and my friends mean the world to me. I will always be grateful to them for standing by me during my rehabilitation and also through my at my ups and downs," says Tanja.
She says that her life was also made easier because she was never reproached or had any problems at work due to absences for sport. "Quite the opposite: my co-workers at Adriatic Slovenia have always supported and encouraged me," she explains.
She gave up active training. She still trains for herself, her fitness and health. "I do everything to be independent and to feel good in myself. I watch my nutrition; I literally support my weight with my hands, and every day, I have to lift my wheelchair over me to get it into the car, because I am constantly active." What is it like to be a disabled athlete? "You have to put a lot of effort into everything. The belief that sport is some kind of recreation for disabled athletes is very, very far from reality. I trained six times per week; all my vacation was used for competitions and preparations, I adjusted my whole life to sport. But this is the only way. On the other hand, those were ‘sweet efforts’ Sport is a part of my life, and I feel great," she explains. And Tanja also adds: "It is probably true that when you lose something – I lost the ability to walk – your view of life changes completely. I did not become aware of that immediately, but I soon noticed that situations which would have completely unnerved me before my fall, do not irritate me any more. This makes life much easier and more beautiful. See you on 3 May in Ljubljana. Join the Adriatic Slovenica Team."