October 2019

On September 18-20, the European Athletes as Students (EAS) network in Falun gathered for a conference on elite sports and studies. This year’s theme for the conference was “Back to their future” and aims at having the best of elite student athletes in mind as the network started in Falun in 2004.
The conference was successful and in addition to interesting discussions, participants were welcomed by the municipal council Joakim Storck and the head of the Dalarna Sports Association, Peter Berglund. They also got a guided tour of the World Cup Museum in the big jumping hill at Lugnet and also an appreciated evening at Magasinet where a scholarship award took place.
Participants from 20 different countries came to the conference to discuss how higher education and higher education institutions can develop the opportunities to combine studies while having an elite sports career, says the project manager for the conference Marit Stub Nybelius.
The focus of the EAS network is on dual careers of student athletes. Double careers are very important for elite athletes to be able to train during their elite sports careers and have something to fall back on after the end of their sports careers.
 
At the MGAZINE on September 19, the “Bengt Nybelius Award was given”, a scholarship, which was established in 2013 by EAS in memory of Bengt Nybelius. Bengt Nybelius who was one of the founders of the EAS network.
 
This year’s recipient of the scholarship was Masar Gajak from Pristina in Kosovo.
On October 3, a delegation from the University of Latvia was visiting Greece for the launch event of a joint mentor training program developed by the Young Ordinary and Disabled Sports Athletes’ MENTORS (YODA MENTORS) project. The purpose of the meeting was to meet prospective dual sports career mentors as well as give guidance on the future of the training program.
 
The curriculum is developed within Erasmus + Sport. It aims to prepare professional mentors who will be ready to provide advice and support to athletes throughout their sports careers, from high school through to higher education.
 
Under the program, mentors from Latvia will provide support to both Latvian and foreign athletes, as well as Latvian athletes will have the opportunity to collaborate with experienced mentors from Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece. The dual sports career in Latvia is still at an early stage, so the project is expected to contribute to the development of the dual sports career at the University of Latvia – to support athletes who have opted for higher education alongside their professional sports career.
 
The next project international meeting will take place in January 2020 in Riga. EAS is represented within the YODA project by board member Dr. Ilvis Abelkalns.
 
YODA Mentor is an Erasmus + Sport project funded by the European Commission (see 603092-EPP-1-2018-1-IT-SPO-SCP).

The Sport Opens School (SOS) project continued with the second transnational meeting hosted by the Bacău County School Inspectorate in Romania on 25-26 September ,2019. The SOS project is co-financed by the Erasmus + program of the European Union to achieve the goal of develop an innovative teaching method for high school physical education teachers and then implement this new model in the 4 partner schools.

CUS Padova, project coordinator, and all partners (Italian National Olympic Committee – Italy; Bacău-Romania School Inspectorate; Instituto N.ª Sra da Encarnação – Ensino Cooperative, Benedita – Portugal; Newton Higher Education Institute – Pertini – Italy; Budapest VI. Kerületi Kölcse y Ferenc Gimnázium – Hungary; and European Athlete as Student network – Malta) met to discuss the drafting of the new teaching module, based on the literature review and research developed by the project team; to check the project website before publication; and to share information on the next training activity.

The entire project team is now focused on organizing the 3-day training activity that will take place next December at the CUS Padova facilities. On this occasion, high school physical education teachers will participate in training on the new physical education teaching method, addressing the 3 main subjects of the module: Physical activity and health; Fairplay and integrity; Skills for life (life skills) and for employability.

The partners from the DONA project met  September 26 and 27 in Amsterdam for training meeting. The project targets female volleyball athletes between 12-20 years old, covering the several important development stages including major changes on academic, athletic, psychological, social and professional levels. EAS was represented by Prof. Mojca Doupona-Topic.

At the meeting partners elaborated Pilot Programme which was very good prepaired by De SportMaatschappij Foundation. Later this year, 250 athletes will be directly involved in the pilot program, through the 4 participating sports clubs.

Partners also talked about the selection of the ambassadors. Each club selected two such persons.  Ambassadors are persons who are, or have been, active within the club and have experience with a dual career or with facing difficult transitions. They are good with younger athletes and like to help them with possible struggles.

INFORMATION about DONA

DONA is based on the ERASMUS+ Collaborative Partnership program of EU. It is coordinated by the Associació Esportiva Carles Vallbona (Spain) and involves the Phoenix Sports Club (Malta), the Scuola di Pallavolo Anderlini Soc. Coop. Sociale SD (Italy), the Associação Aventura com Carisma – Leixoes Sport Club (Portugal), the De SportMaatschappij Foundation (Netherlands), the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), and the European Athlete as Student (EAS) Dual Career Network (Malta).

DONA aims to:

  • decrease female athletes’ dropout from sport clubs;
  • prepare athletes from an early age for the different transition periods ahead with developing the needed skills and competences;
  • increase the number of professional and elite female volleyball players by retaining talents at clubs and supporting their DC development;
  • make young athletes and their families aware that it is possible to aim for both educational and sports career;
  • help them finding the right balance between sports and education with providing them the needed support services;
  • prepare these athletes for their upcoming challenge to be successful in the change from elite sport to labour market – for the “career after the career”.