Ljubljana, 22 September 2020 – The SIJ Group received the 2019 IOC Trophy – Sport and Sustainable Architecture for their project of building outdoor steel gyms all across Slovenia. The 2019 IOC award for the development of sports facilities through the use of sustainable materials was awarded to Andrey Zubitskiy, the President of the Management Board of the SIJ Group, by the IOC President Thomas Bach.  

Since 2013, the SIJ Group has erected 14 outdoor steel gyms all across Slovenia, in close collaboration with the Olympic Committee of Slovenia – Association of Sports Federations (NOC SLO) and with the support of the local communities. By 2022, a total of 20 steel outdoor gyms will be built by the SIJ Group, which will allow sports enthusiasts of all ages and fitness levels to lead a healthy lifestyle. By constructing the outdoor gyms, each made of 86 metres of steel tubes, the SIJ Group wishes to awaken the minds of steel in people and also remind them how omnipresent and eternal steel really is – it is the only material in the world that can be recycled indefinitely without it losing its properties.

"The project of the outdoor gyms meets the very criteria that the IOC's Sport and Sustainable Architecture Trophy rewards, because you encourage the construction of sustainable sports facilities. The cooperation between the SIJ Group and NOC SLO has been identified as an exemplary partnership and we look forward to your future joint projects with a taste of steel,” Thomas Bach, the President of the IOC stated as he presented the award.

Andrey Zubitskiy, the President of the Management Board of the SIJ Group, is proud of the socially responsible and sustainable activities run by the SIJ Group, which have been recognised not only by the local communities and the state, but by the IOC as well, "We are honoured to be receiving the award for sports and sustainable architecture. As the largest steel group in Slovenia, we are utilising this project to make the public realise how important and universally useful a material steel is in our lives. We find it everywhere, including sports and sports infrastructure. With every outdoor gym we donate, the SIJ Group does a lot of good for the people in local communities. The SIJ Group, in cooperation with the Olympic Committe of Slovenia, recognises the numerous sustainable possible uses for steel and its by-products in sports infrastructure. Following this conviction, we will be taking a Slovenian torch made of wood and 100-% recycled steel made by the SIJ Group to the Tokyo Olympic Games. We are also developing a project of cycling facilities, so-called pump tracks, where slag, a by-product of steel production could be used, which would further expand elements of the circular economy in the area of sports for all. I therefore dedicate this award to our colleagues who make the steel outdoor gyms and to all of those, who develop new sustainable sport projects in the SIJ Group."

Social responsibility is not realised solely by erecting sustainable sport infrastructure. Each outdoor gym has its own ambassador – a successful athlete from the town where the gym is built. The ambassador of the gym in Ptuj is the boxer Dejan Zavec, in Slovenj Gradec – the climber Janja Garnbret, in Krško – the hammer thrower Primož Kozmus, in Nova Gorica – the skier Jure Franko, in Jesenice – the skier Alenka Dovžan, in Ravne na Koroškem – the swimmer Tjaša Oder and in Ljubljana – the cross-country skier Petra Majdič, to name but a few. Their minds of steel are an example and encouragement for people to take care of the body and soul with regular exercise. It takes self-discipline and perseverance to achieve top results as well as to just stay fit, and that is the message of the Mind of Steel project, where the SIJ Group, together with the project's ambassador Petra Majdič, combines various activities. These activities, as well as erecting steel outdoor gyms, awaken the minds of steel in people, helping them to be physically active and to achieve other vital goals.

Anyone wanting to try a guided workout in the outdoor gyms will be able to do so during the European Week of Sport between 23 and 30 September. A guided workout will be organised on the last Sunday in September at all of the outdoor gyms: Prevalje, Ravne na Koroškem, Jesenice, Murska Sobota, Ljubljana, Grosuplje, Nova Gorica, Mozirje, Krško, Postojna, Ptuj, Tržič, Slovenj Gradec and Pivka. Professional coaches will help all of the sports enthusiasts who will want to take an active part and work out in the outdoor gyms during the European Week of Sport. More information about the gyms and their locations is available at the website

The making of outdoor steel gyms



The SIJ Group is the largest vertically-integrated metallurgical group in Slovenia. It operates in accordance with circular economy and its products are at the top of European and global niche steel markets. The SIJ Group is one of Slovenia's biggest exporters and is a pillar of employment in the regions Gorenjska and Koroška.



Additional information:

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