Anti-doping drive goes national

Virgin Active has partnered with The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) in a nationwide anti-doping Education and Awareness campaign, advocating Zero Tolerance in its clubs towards doping and performance enhancing drugs.

Ross Faragher-Thomas, Managing Director, Virgin Active South Africa, says that the SA Institute for Drug Free Sport has been doing an outstanding job of raising public awareness about the scourge of steroid abuse and other banned substance.

He continues: "We strongly back their anti-doping education and testing programme in high schools. Collaborating with SAIDS is an important extension of our existing policy. We believe this collaboration further strengthens a zero-tolerance message when it comes from Virgin Active SA and the Institute for Drug-Free Sport.

“The recent educational roadshow conducted in our clubs by Drug-Free Sport to educate staff about the negative health consequences of banned performance-enhancing drugs has heightened awareness among Virgin Active staff and a series of awareness posters, which will be visible in Virgin Active clubs around the country, are designed to take the drug-free sport messages to members and their families.”

SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport CEO, Khalid Galant, says that the partnership with Virgin Active is about promoting alternatives to drugs and doping by advocating fitness and sports performance through hard work. The first phase of the collaborative initiative with Virgin Active involved SAIDS conducting national ‘Doping Education and Awareness’ workshops focused on developing a greater understanding of anabolic steroid use and stimulants, medical and legal implications of anabolic steroid use and alternatives to steroids with regard to proper training and nutrition.

Synthetic anabolic steroids artificially stimulate and speed up the muscle building capacity of the body.  “These substances can have very dangerous side effects which include; increasing the risk of liver and cardiovascular disease, reducing sex drive and even resulting in impotence, developing male characteristics in women and exhibiting overly aggressive behaviour, and in some cases, have resulted in suicide,” says Galant.

Virgin Active and SAIDS will be building on the partnership with joint initiatives throughout the year. Faragher-Thomas says he will encourage all Virgin Active trainers, coaches, athletes and gym members to take the ‘I Play Fair. Say NO! to Doping’ pledge which they can do by going to http//www.drugfreesport.org.za/i-play-fair 

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