Sandra Izbasa: Worlds are the target for me.

In an interview for Romanian newspaper Prosport, Sandra Izbasa talks about her decision to keep training this year, her plans and how she readjusted to training at Izvorani.

At the end of 2012, you were not sure whether you should continue in elite gymnastics or retire. How do you feel about this now?

I am training now and it feels good. Although I had not made a final decision back then, I had the confidence that I could go back. Half of me wanted to retire and half to continue, but I have decided to keep training this year. I also settled on not setting a goal for myself to attend any specific competition. I just wanted to see how I did within the new code of points and if I got used to it. This is how I came back, it was natural.

How difficult was it to go back to the gym and how did your coaches see this?

They believed in me from the very start and supported me through this. It was a bit difficult since I had to stop training for 2 weeks to take my final exam. That felt like winning a medal for me. I have graduated from the Kinesiology College in Bucharest and this makes me really happy. I’d like to thank Dean Mariana Cordun, professors Cojocaru and Alexandru Buzescu and all the other professors who supported me. I am as grateful to them as to the professors I already mentioned.   

What is new for you now and how was re-adapting to life at Izvorani?

Izvorani holds the only gym where I can properly train. The re-accommodation went well; I have more freedom now and I get to decide whether to stay there or not as long as I get enough rest.  I train 5 hours a day split into 2 trainings and I get Sundays off. I don’t have much time for anything else as I get home very late in the evening. I get a shower, watch TV a bit and fall asleep.

You were on the initial Moscow list. Why aren’t you going anymore?

Missing two weeks of training impacts a lot and I only had one month to train for the Moscow European Championships. Excluding Sundays, one month of training is not much for such a competition. I wouldn’t have been able to perform at top level. I was on the list because it’s easier to take someone out than to add him in.

What apparatus would you have competed on?

I would have competed on floor because this was easier to get back to and I would have kept the London Games song because the public likes it. I’m not sure I would have been able to compete on vault as well as in London so I would have gone for floor only.

Do you still experience pain?

You always do, this is part of a gymnast’s life. The important fact is that I haven’t had any major problem. I have to thank God for that but I am aware that it can come back again anytime because of the hard work.

You’re not going to Euros, so the next target seems to be Worlds…

There will always be some pressure because everyone, including me, expects good results. I wouldn’t be honest with myself if I didn’t acknowledge this. But I have to control this and make it constructive. Of course Worlds are a target for me. If I make it, then great. If not, life is not over with gymnastics.

One last question. You attended the handball Champions League semifinal game between Oltchim and Gyor. What qualities does an athlete need to be able to override a 2 goal difference (Oltchim lost 22 to 24)?

I lived that game alongside the players, my hands were sweating. I believe you’ve lost one battle but not the war and the girls should build their hopes on this principle. It’s a good start for a comeback. I really hope they can show the Hungarian players how strong they are in the second leg.

Sandra’s final thesis was entitled “The importance of the kinetic physical treatment on an Achilles tendon injury”, the same injury she suffered in 2009.

I hope the girls will be healthy enough for Moscow so that they can show the judges everything they’ve worked for.”

Original interview by Andru Nenciu for Prosport here.

Photo: Marius Ionescu