Ivan Tilev: Sport has taught me to never give up when it is difficult for me, to fight and win
Ivan Tilev is well known to Bulgarian basketball fans, although in the last few seasons he was more active abroad than in our home country. The former national has spent the last year in clubs in Germany and Italy, and when he is in Bulgaria he transmits the experience gained outside our homeland to visitors to North Jim - a fitness center in Nadezhda, which he manages. His professional career in the last few years has been developed with participation in 3x3 tournaments in Bulgaria and Europe with a team leader who runs the NorthGym Streetball team. NordGym is also one of the fitness centers that is a partner in the JUST SPORT project, co-funded under the Erasmus + program, and aims to inform young people visiting sports and fitness centers and novice athletes and to provide them with information for the negative effects of substances recognized as doping.

Your life has passed into sport, what is it for you?
Sport is a way of life and cannot imagine my everyday life without sports. I started playing basketball because this game captivated me, there were games on TV, basketball was a modern word, and the NBA was a religion. Before I fell in love with the orange ball, I played football on a semi-professional level, so for me the sport is like breathing - the most natural process.
Much of your professional career goes to foreign clubs. What are the differences you see between them and the sports clubs in Bulgaria?
The sport culture in Europe is highly developed, everybody sports, moves and strives to be active. This also reflects on club culture and the recognition that athletes receive. From here comes our responsible task to be an example of the thousands of children who want to imitate us. This is the difference I would really like to melt in the coming years in Bulgaria and to have more and more desirable children and young people to follow their sports leaders and work hard to achieve their level. I am very impressed by the great investment in sporting identity and the attachment of the citizens to the sports clubs. Fully aware, the entire local community recognizes the sports clubs, identifies with them, experiences with them the victories and losses. This, in addition to building identity in individuals, also brings relevant financial benefits to the city or region through increased demand for tourist services during sporting events, ticket sales, souvenirs and more. This also stimulates the local economy and is a part of sport, which often goes unnoticed and has a strong added value. It is a common task for all of us - to create conditions for sport at all levels of society - state and municipal bases to provide the sports infrastructure and sports professionals and all of us as citizens to create interest and love for sport.
You are part of the European Anti-Doping Initiative "JUST SPORT". Why did you decide to take an active part in it?
On one hand, the idea of participating in such a campaign seems to be a good one, because in NorthGym, fitness center in Nadezhda which I manage, many young people come and they are willing to sport and look good. This enables me and my colleagues to work with a direct target group and to inform these young people on a daily basis about the negative effects of substances recognized as doping. That is how we help their health and their development by spending a lot of time talking to them, and we are convinced that such actions do not help them, and even do much harm to the position of time.
Can sport exist without doping?
This would be a challenge for professional athletes who have to prove that they are better than the best every day. However, when we talk about mass sports and sports for health, then we need to pay special attention to our health and to prevent the negative effects that such preparations can cause. That is why when we were invited by the Bulgarian sports development association, whose activities we have known and supported for years, we happily responded and became partners. We have a wealth of experience with this project and in managing such campaigns, which, besides adding value to society, also gives us a lot of new knowledge and skills that are useful in today's society. The project also includes training for fitness trainers and fitness center owners, as well as creating a map of doping fitness centers and we are proud to become part of this new network of sports facilities for Bulgaria and Europe.
Do you have plans to develop in the field of sport after finishing your professional career?
For me, life beyond the field of sport would be unthinkable. He gave me much more than just to look good. It taught me to be disciplined, to be an excellent team player, not to give up when it is difficult for me, to fight and win. I want to help more and more young people in Bulgaria to accumulate knowledge and skills through sport, to find the motivation to develop here and to promote the development of the sport in our country. I continue my development in other directions and I am currently pursuing a coaching course at the National Sports Academy "Vasil Levski". I still have something to give to professional basketball, but then I will certainly continue to be inextricably linked to the sphere of sport.