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
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