Muslim Olympic contenders juggle sports performance with Ramadan fast
On July 29, 2012 At 10:15 pm
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It is the Islamic holy month of Ramadan where believers go without food and drink during daylight hours.
This is not easy for the 3,500 Muslim athletes taking part in the Olympic Games.
They have to find a way to honor their faith without compromising their performances. Weight lifters, for instance, have been training late at night so that they can fuel up with food before their exercises. One Egyptian weightlifter told AFP news that she will not fast on competition day, but will honor the Ramadan fast on other days. She said that if one fasts for 16 days, then there is a right not to fast on the competition day.
In England during this time of year, there are 18 hours between dawn and dusk so religious leaders in a number of countries, including Morocco, Algeria and Egypt, have given their athletes the ability to postpone their fasting period so that their morale and performance is high.
With nearly 3,500 Muslims athletes present at the Olympics, several countries had asked that the games be shifted to accommodate the fasting. Their request was refused by the International Olympic Committee, which said that provisions had been made to cater to the needs of all of the athletes. Restaurants in the Olympic village are open 24/7 so that the Muslim athletes can eat at any time after sunset.
The Olympics will end on August 12.