x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Competitors have few examples of fasting at the Olympics

The last time the Holy Month and the Summer Olympics met was in 1980 at the Moscow Games.

Tanzania‘s Suleiman Nyambui claimed silver in the 5,000 metres race at the Moscow Games of 1980.
Tanzania‘s Suleiman Nyambui claimed silver in the 5,000 metres race at the Moscow Games of 1980.

LONDON // The last time the Olympics was staged during the Holy Month was at the Moscow Games of 1980, which was four years before the UAE first sent a team to compete.

The event was light on participating nations for a variety of reasons, the most prominent of which being a USA-led boycott in protest at the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.

The effect of Ramadan on Muslim competitors is difficult to quantify, because many countries, led by Saudi Arabia, refused to attend in protest at Soviet aggression on Islamic land.

Of GCC nations, only Kuwait sent a team to compete, while Qatar were not even invited by the International Olympic Committee.

There were successes for Muslim competitors, though. For example, fasting did not prevent Suleiman Nyambui from claiming a silver for Tanzania in a renowned endurance event, the 5,000 metres.

Elsewhere at the Moscow Games, Iraq performed above expectations as they made the quarter finals of the football competition, before losing to West Germany.

"Some of us were fasting and some weren't, because we had Christian players in our side and others who were not able to fast," said Ali Khadim, who played as a striker for the Iraqi team.

"The fasting effect was not that hard for me because the weather in Moscow was similar compared to the weather in the Arab world.

"We all know that the fasting has an effect on the performance of the player because of fluid loss in the human body, and the problems caused by not supplying the body with water and food.

"As I said, some players chose fasting and there was no objection by the training staff. The Olympics for me was a historic event as it is an international event, and I had a chance to be with all the world champions of all sports."

pradley@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE