Unveiling the latest steel outdoor gym this year and announcing 9 more

Ptuj, 16th October 2019 - As part of the cooperation between the SIJ Group and the Olympic Committee of Slovenia – Association of Sports Federations (NOC SLO), and supported by the local community, we unveiled the last outdoor gym this year, in Ptuj. The new facility is now waiting to receive the sports enthusiasts from the town, who will be able to work out using the new “steel addition” to the Grajena sports park. Also, the SIJ Group and NOC SLO signed an agreement to build nine additional steel outdoor gyms, meaning that Slovenians will have 20 such facilities available to them by the end of 2022.

The one unveiled today is the eleventh, but certainly not the last. In addition to the project’s ambassador Dejan Zavec, regarded as one of the most popular athletes in Slovenia, the outdoor gym in Ptuj is also made special because it represents the beginning of a new cooperation between the top-level sports organisation and the SIJ Group, because at the unveiling, we signed a new agreement, which will be the continuation of the “steel” project to 2022. By then, we will erect an additional nine outdoor gyms (three per year) together with the SIJ Group.

The SIJ Group, in collaboration with NOC SLO, supports not only top-level sports, but also the athletic endeavours of each individual. To display steel as a material with a wide range of uses, enable the people a direct and positive contact with it, while at the same time encourage them to work out, local communities across Slovenia have started erecting steel outdoor gyms that we have produced ourselves. Each new construction and unveiling is a project connecting three sides – the SIJ Group, NOC SLO, and the municipality.

The outdoor gym, consisting of 86 metres of steel tubes and made by SIJ Acroni, was handed over to the local community by Member of the Management Board of the SIJ Group, Tibor Šimonka, the first Vice President of NOC SLO mag. Janez Sodržnik, the ambassador of the outdoor gym Dejan Zavec, the president of the municipal sports association and head of the regional NOC SLO branch in Ptuj, Franjo Rozman, and the mayor of Ptuj Nuška Gajšek.

The entertainment was provided by the pupils of the Ljudski vrt Ptuj primary school, who, together with the representatives of the sports societies of Ptuj, the municipal sports association, the Grajena local community, the members of the Grajena sports society, and the Ptuj sports institute were the first to try out the outdoor gym.

The first outdoor gym was erected in 2014, when the SIJ Group decided that they want to enable free outdoor recreation for the communities where their companies operate and where their employees and their families work, and to other local communities across Slovenia. “Today’s unveiling makes working out in outdoor steel gyms, which is free and inclusive, possible for almost a quarter of Slovenia's population. According to the new agreement with NOC SLO to build an additional nine gyms by the end of 2022, we will have donated 20 such facilities to towns all across Slovenia, thereby encouraging people to be active and to find their own mind of steel, which is important in all areas of life, not only in sports,” Tibor Šimonka, a Member of the Management Board of the SIJ Group said describing the significance of the project.

The Slovenian Steel Group – SIJ Group – uses various activities under the name Mind of Steel to encourage people to develop a mind of steel, which has always been a part of the SIJ Group’s character, and by building steel outdoor gyms in local communities, they want everyone to develop it. Located next to each gym is a board displaying the inspiring story of a local sports hero, which helps people develop a mind of steel, and it was exactly the ambassador of the gym in Ptuj, the charming boxer Dejan Zavec, who was especially enthusiastic about the new addition to the sports infrastructure. The board shows a photo of him and the motto of the Mind of Steel project, which reads, “Be guided by the knowledge that nothing in life can guarantee you that you will become the best. But, you can rely on the power of your will, which is the only guarantee that you will work towards improving yourself and achieving your goal day after day.” The town’s ambassador of the Mind of Steel project joined the encouraging message by adding, “I am thrilled that Ptuj has received this outdoor gym, because recreational areas such as this one are crucial for the development of sports and the motor skills of our youngest generations. I wish that the people of Ptuj would accept this gym as their own and incorporate it into their everyday lives.”

The opening ceremony was also attended by the Vice President of Slovenia’s top-level sports organisation, mag. Janez Sodržnik, the chairman of the council of sports for all, who was especially pleased by the contribution the “steel” sponsor made, saying, “Developing sports on a local level is of strategic importance for the further successes of Slovenian sports and for creating the conditions that increase the number of physically active citizens, which is one of the top priorities of NOC SLO. We are therefore happy and grateful that we are unveiling the eleventh steel outdoor gym donated by the SIJ Group today, which is our common contribution to the improvement of the conditions for sports for people in local environments. I believe that the gym will bring a lot of added value to the people of Ptuj.”

The mayor of Ptuj, Nuška Gajšek, also greeted the people gathered at the Grajena sports park and commented on the unveiling by saying, “It fills me with joy to see the new asset of the Ptuj Urban Municipality. We are proud that the Grajena sports park has updated what it can offer our citizens, and I am certain that the new outdoor gym will not only serve its purpose, but that it will also unite and connect the people, and encourage a healthy lifestyle. We are sincerely grateful to the Slovenian Steel Group and the Olympic Committee of Slovenia for their cooperation in the Mind of Steel project, which made additional options for a healthy lifestyle available to our citizens.”



The SIJ Group is the largest Slovenian vertically-integrated metallurgical group, and works according to the principles of circular economy, occupying leading market positions in European and global niche steel markets. The SIJ Group is one of Slovenia’s largest exporters and is considered a pillar of employment in Jesenice and Ravne na Koroškem.

According to unaudited business data, the SIJ Group created 417.2 million Euros in revenues in the first half of 2019, 84.4 percent of which came from foreign markets. The achieved EBITDA was 38 million Euros, and the EBITDA margin was 9.1 percent. In the first half of 2019, the SIJ Group created 81.2 million Euros of net profit.

Additional information:

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