Ravne na Koroškem, 14 September 2019 – Last Saturday, on 14 September, Petra Majdič brought some flare to the traditional annual picnic organised by the Fužinar swimming club for the swimmers and their parents. With a motivational workshop, made possible by the SIJ Group together with the company SIJ Ravne Systems, a long-standing sponsor of the club, Petra gave the young swimmers some invaluable encouragement for their future athletic careers.

Meeting over 50 swimmers, Petra Majdič encouraged their minds of steel and inspired them with her life story. During her long career as a professional athlete, she has obtained a wealth of experience, which she tried to pass on the young swimmers during the gathering, but first and foremost, she wanted to pass on her key realisation: trust yourself, and believe without fault in your own mind of steel. It resides in all of us, we just have to awaken it in the crucial moments, and, as Mrs. Majdič says, “Nobody in life can guarantee you that you will become the best, but you can always rely on your mind of steel.”  Not content with mere words, Mrs. Majdič prepared special challenges for the swimmers. Through different games, which required a lot of communication, patience, trust, and cooperation, she made the young swimmers feel passionate about what they do.

The life story of Petra Majdič has also inspired the 17-year-old swimmer Lovro Knez, the national champion in the categories of 50 and 100 metres breaststroke, who also took part in the 2019 European Junior Swimming Championships in Kazan, who said that he had got quite a few useful tips on how to succeed. But he knows the road towards it is a difficult one, adding, “A person without willpower is like a book without its content, an apple without the seeds, or a day without the sun. Without willpower, you cannot make it in life. Last season was full of ups and downs for me – I injured my knee at the start of it, which is why I did not train for half of the year. It was a truly difficult experience for me, but I kept going and I did not give up. That is why you should never give up, even if you are hurting and you think you cannot take it anymore. Establish clear goals, and move towards them, taking the path destined for you to take.”
“You cannot make it without willpower and the conviction that you can achieve something. You always have to know what you are working towards and be as ready as you can be for everything coming your way on the path you have set out for yourself. Today’s event was really fun and informative,” Jaš Berložnik, aged 16, added at the end of the event. This year, he won the national title in his discipline of 200 metres butterfly and 400 metres medley, and also took part at the 2019 European Junior Swimming Championships in Kazan.

All the swimmers received a special award from the SIJ Group at the end of their get-together with Petra Majdič. The company SIJ Ravne Systems, part of the SIJ Group, have long been aware that sponsoring a club is a considerable social responsibility, especially in small local communities, where financial means are very limited. But the fact remains that including the young in sport is an investment into their health, and for many, sport becomes a way of life after years of diligent training. They are happy to be a part of the swimming community in Ravne na Koroškem and that they can help enriching each other.

The chairman of the Fužinar swimming club Miran Kos began his address with the though that swimming is one of the most difficult sports in the world. “That is why all of us who are a part of this story – especially the swimmers – need minds of steel, and the quality of steel hardened by the hands of the parents and coaches. The mind of steel is not only evident by the results achieved in the pool, but also in school, and later, at work. This traditional get-together, which we have organised with the help of the SIJ Group and Petra Majdič is therefore all the more special, and we are truly grateful to all because of it. Meeting one of the best, most relentless, and determined cross-country skiers in the world, the essence of her development, work, and foundation that have led to her success, is highly illustrative, and will help achieve even better results. Our juniors and first-team are among the best in Europe and the world, ranked between 7th and 10th place, and want to continue swimming this fast and even faster. And because only minor details stand between them and the top positions, if we can call tenths of a second that, the guidelines and experience shared by Petra Majdič, and the continued support of the SIJ Group, will be a new “alloying element” in future training and competitions.”


The SIJ Group is a part of numerous athletic partnerships in Jesenice and Ravne na Koroškem, where its companies operate. SIJ Acroni, SIJ Ravne Systems, and SIJ Metal Ravne sponsor several sport clubs in their local environments, and through numerous events aimed at awakening the mind of steel, their support gains a new dimension and added value, both for the employees of the SIJ Group, as well as the local communities. To raise general awareness on a health lifestyle, the importance of exercise, and with the aim of raising awareness on how important steel is in sport and sport infrastructure, the SIJ Group is a leading national partner of the Olympic Committee of Slovenia (OKS). Together, they work on erecting steel outdoor training facilities in different Slovenian cities, and they award scholarships for young athletes – children of the employees. By working this way and with its sponsorship strategy, the SIJ Group is fulfilling its corporate vision of sustainable development, which goes well beyond social responsibility towards the environment and the local communities.
Petra Majdič, an ambassador of the mind of steel, is a former Olympian, and the most successful Slovenian cross-country skier in history. The general public know her story from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where she won a silver medal, despite breaking her ribs in a fall beforehand. With her personality and life story, she is the embodiment of the mind of steel, which she now promotes in local communities, employees, and beyond, as part of a project bearing the same name, in the area of sponsorship and donation partnerships of the SIJ Group.

Additional information:
SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.
Mag. Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate Communications
Telephone: +386 1 242 98 27
Mobile: +386 1 41 313 532