Praying or Games

The summer Olympic Games in London will take place during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan this year.

The schedule affects not only the estimated 3,000 Muslim athletes, but also the vendors, spectators, and officials. During Ramadan, Muslims do not take any food or water during the daylight hours, but may eat and drink throughout the evening.

Experts in sports medicine predict that any effect on performance will depend on the type of sport, the duration and time of day of the event, and sleeping/training schedules.

Some Muslims may choose not to fast in order to be at their peak performance, and then make up the days of Ramadan with fasting days at a later time.

The Jonathan Edwards case: he initially refused to compete on Sundays due to his devout Christian beliefs, a decision which cost him a chance to compete in the 1991 World Championships. However in 1993, after much deliberation and discussion with his father (a vicar), he changed his mind, deciding that God gave him his talent in order for him to compete in athletics.