Rijekas Sport Association is at the helm of the European project titled Just Sport and financed through the Erasmus + Sport program. Over the 18-month period, during which the project will be implemented, the association will team up with its five partners from Slovenia, Italy, Bulgaria, Portugal and Sweden, and work on educating on and raising awareness of the harmfulness of using banned doping agents and the uncontrolled consumption of various supplements in recreational sports.

Primarily, the target group that we wish to reach with this project includes users of various fitness centers who are often unaware of the negative consequences of using banned doping substances. The desire to progress quickly can cause long-term damage to one's body, threatening its vital functions. Even though doping is not banned from amateur sports and its use is not against any rules, there is always the fact that you are cheating on yourselves and pushing your boundaries unfairly. Some of the most common doping substances include steroids, various stimulants, synthetic erythropoietin, human growth hormone and marijuana, and studies show the necessity of prevention in reducing their consumption. One should bear in mind that over the past years there has been an increase in the use of different supplements boosting muscle growth and reducing body fat. The supplements use is also rather harmful as they are taken without medical supervision and as their consumption exceeds the recommended dosages many times over, which can also impact ones physical and mental health. The most effective ways to combat doping include prevention and raising the awareness about its harmfulness, and that is exactly what Just Sport is aimed at, Verica Mance of Rijekas Sport Association said.

As part of the projects main activity of raising the awareness of all the key stakeholders (including trainers and coaches, recreational athletes, educational and healthcare institutions, sports organizations, and decision-makers), there will also be a number of workshops/seminars, with experts in a number of fields presenting the importance of prevention in resolving this burning issue in recreational sports. Fitness centers involved in Just Sport will be awarded Clean Fitness certificates as a sign of their commitment to achieving results without using doping or supplements. In order to discover the real scale of their use, a survey was carried out among recreational athletes and fitness center users, and its findings will soon be made public.

The project will culminate in a closing congress in May 2018, with the representatives of the European Commission, World Anti-Doping Agency and European Anti-Doping Agency, as well as various national anti-doping agencies, in attendance. They will be joined by some of the top international athletes, the projects ambassadors.

Just Sport project partners include Rijekas Sport Association, Slovenias Olympic Committee, Italys member of the CESIE Federation, Bulgarian Sports Development Association, Portugals Mirandela Municipality and the Swedish Sports Confederation.