Interview Neven Cegnar


*) What gave you the inspiration to be a coach?

The biggest inspiration was when I started to play table tennis. I finished my career very early. I was playing till I was 16/17 years old and then I had injuries with the knee. My problem was also, that I had no professional players and coaches around. The reason why I stopped was that I knew already during the time at the high school that I will be a coach after the faculty of physical education. I wanted to learn as much as I can from the study.


*) What makes a good coach?

In my point of view many things are coming from the genetics. If you’re not focused on the job you’re providing and if you’re not motivated enough to do something, you’ll not be a good coach. So this kind of job is very difficult. If you’re a coach from the young generations you have to invest at least 8-10 hours per day to work in the hall. Not so many coaches and persons are able to spend so many hours per day.


*) What would you consider as your biggest success so far?

I am working for 30 years as a coach - the last 22 years as the national coach (Note: Croatia). All together I won 32medals from European and World Championships. The biggest results were two silver medals with the team (Note: Courmayeur 2003 and Aarhus 2005) and of course the biggest ever individual result was Tami (Note: Tamara Boroš). She was No. 2 in the world and won the bronze medal at the World Championships in Paris 2003. Tami was one of just a few players who were competitive with the best Asian players.


*) Will we see you more often in the Werner Schlager Academy now?

Yes of course! My plan is to spend 10-12 days per month in Schwechat from September 2014 on. I will try to push the rest of my team to practice together with the players here. This hall and this center is one of the most famous centers in Europe at the moment. The program and structure is growing up from day by day.


*) What is the advantage of the WSA?

It’s possible to practice at the same place with so many good players at the same time. Further I appreciate the knowledge of the coaches and the structure of the WSA. And I like to work with Tami in her new position.


*) You created a movie last year? (Note: autobiography of Tamara Boroš)

Yes. But not only last year, I was working on it very hard for three years. It was not easy, because we have a very difficult period in Croatia at the moment. This project costs about 100.000€. I had many good friends and sponsors who supported me and a really nice TV team from Zagreb. I am really proud and happy that we’ve got this which will be for sure very helpful for the young generation – especially from Europe.


*) Will you continue as a film producer?

It depends of my motivation. I felt the duty to produce this film, because I wanted to show up to my young generation which is very talented but not with the same work abilities like Tami. We have the same problem all over Europe: the young players are very talented but they are not able to be concentrated and motivated enough. Tami was working really hard, so I wanted to show them how she treated all challenges during her whole life. I am quite sure that we made a good film.


*) What are your goals for the future?

My biggest goal is to establish a team which is able the fight for European Team medals in the next few years. And I want to push the players that maybe one of them will qualify for the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.


*) In which else sports are you interested in?

I was doing many sports when I was young. I was practising soccer, basketball, handball and gymnastic. This was also the reason why I wasn’t able to play table tennis more often. But beside this I like to watch snooker very much – it’s some kind of hobby.


*) What is your personal motto?

Do your best every moment of your life.

I can say that I spent every day 8-10 hours in the hall for the last 20 years. I know that I like to work really hard.

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