GO Scholarship support system supported the first medals brought to Romania by the athletes selected in the program

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 02/03/2023 | 14:14

GO Scholarship, the sports scholarship support system created by Virgil Stănescu and Ana Luca under the umbrella of the Sports Hub Association, has completed one year since its launch and has contributed to an extremely encouraging balance sheet for the two founders and partners project – over 80 exceptional results at national and international level achieved by GO athletes.


The event celebrating the first year of activity was attended by multiple retired Romanian champions – Ana-Maria Brânză (fencing), Marian Drăgulescu (gymnastics), Geanina Beleagă (rowing), George Ogăraru (football), entrepreneurs – Dragoș Anastasiu (Eurolines), Felix Pătrășcanu (Fan Courier), senior Romanian officials members of national and international forums – Mihai Covaliu and Narcisa Lecușanu, Minister of Youth and Sports, Eduard Novak, Paralympic champion himself, young champions from the GO program, sports specialists, coaches, parents and media representatives.

Mihaela Mihai. Luca Andrei Oprea. Valentina Necoara. Emma Sont. Edwin Petrea. They are just a few of the more than 40 sportsmen and women selected so far in the GO Scholarship and who have already brought exceptional results to Romania. Mihaela Mihai (handball) was the first athlete to enter the pilot program in 2021. Mihaela is still in the project today and, in the meantime, made her debut in the senior national team of Romania and the senior team of CSM Bucharest, where she plays alongside a legend, Cristina Neagu, named the best handball player in the world four times.

“We consolidated the project according to their needs, the parents’ and the coaches’ needs, which helped us build, brick by brick, this system. We are still developing and learning processes and operating procedures to suit so many different sports and so many different characters, but I am very happy that we can do it with a wonderful team of professionals”, said Virgil Stănescu, the one who also ensured the role of moderator of the event. And he also reviewed the first figures ticked off in the first year of the GO program – 372 physical training sessions, 215 nutrition sessions, 213 sessions of psychotherapy and sports psychology, 313 sessions of career counseling, 717 sessions of physical therapy and physiotherapy.

How the GO system works – athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 are selected, following recommendations from sports federations, clubs and specialists from the chosen sports branches, but also through direct registration on the GOscholarship.ro website. The athletes selected so far come from 12 disciplines – basketball, handball, volleyball, football, athletics, fencing, triathlon, cycling, table tennis, climbing, judo and boxing.

“I wanted to create a system through which I could offer support to those able to follow their dream in sports, but also to understand the need for education and the fact that these two elements are intertwined. Sport and education are the sides of the same coin, the choice should never be between sport and school”, explains Virgil Stănescu in the pages of the magazine launched on the occasion of the first year of existence under the title “We are changing the game. Seats, be ready, GO!”

According to the Olympic fencing champion and COSR president, Mihai Covaliu, the main problem in Romania is the lack of that professional resource in sports, at all levels.

“Both parents and coaches have a great responsibility. The magic wand is with them. And they must be very careful how they lead their children, how they raise them, how they help them, how they teach them, how they support them. It is very important to create a good, healthy environment in which these children can form and grow. Especially since we have to be honest and face the truth: not all children who start a sport become champions. But we must pay attention, I am talking about coaches and parents, to the education these children receive in the environment in which they are trained. They can be champions for life. They can be those grown people who create a lifestyle and a certain concept of succeeding in what they propose to you. This will help us to have a healthier society and a better performing society”, Covaliu pointed out on the stage of the event and in front of the GO athletes, even while his son Vlad won, together with the junior team, the eighth gold medal of of Romania at the European Fencing Championships for Cadets and Juniors in Tallinn.

Ana Luca, the other half of the project, who before taking the step towards management played performance handball for 12 years, also explains the essence of the GO system.

“When we built the GO Scholarship, we always had in mind the development of a high-performance system through which we would give those admitted the opportunity to broaden their horizons, overcome themselves from one day to the next and become the best version of themselves. From the beginning, one of our concerns was to outline a project with broad educational values, through which we would also facilitate the access of parents, club representatives and coaches to as much relevant information as possible.”

For the year 2022, the selection of athletes was addressed to athletes from the city of Bucharest and adjacent areas. The athletes benefit from the advice of some of the best specialists in the country in terms of education, nutrition, physical training, recovery, mental skills and social smartness. The cost of a GO athlete in 2022 reached just over 1,000 euros per month, and the total annual budget of the project was almost 340,000 euros.

For the current year, the selection starts in the second half of March. In the future, it will be expanded to a national level and there will be more sports disciplines, with the two founders aiming to scale the project. The effort will be considerably greater, but they already have strong and long-term partners – Fundația Superbet, BRD, Nike, KPMG, Affidea, who will gradually be joined by new names.

To keep up to date with the progress of the GO athletes and how the whole GO program is progressing step by step, to follow www.goscholarship.ro, www.facebook.com/GOScholarshipRomania/, www.instagram.com/goscholarship.romania.

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Mihai-Alexandru Cristea | 09/03/2023 | 17:26

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