Dubai Grand Mufti exempts UAE Olympic team from fasting
"There will be no pressure on the players to fast since the Grand Mufti of Dubai Sheikh Ahmed Al Haddad had said players who do not fast can make up by fasting in the period following the games," UAE's Olympic football coach Mahdi Ali, told this website.
More than 3,000 Muslim athletes from across the world are competing in the London Olympics, which starts from 27 July to 12 August 2012.
“The ball is in the players' court. We will not force any player to break his fast, but I think they know what to do, the responsibility is on them and they will take the right decision,” Mahdi said.
The UAE coach roundly criticized the International Olympics committee for the timings of the mega sporting event.
“It is unfair to all Muslim athletes and they should have thought about the fact that the Games will be held during the holy month of Ramadan, because around 3,000 athletes at the Games will be Muslim,” Ali added.
The Muslim month of fasting, the holiest in Islamic calender, is most likely to begin on July 21.
Several experts say that some Muslim athletes may fast during Ramadan.
"Observing the Muslim holy month involves mental and spiritual discipline, the effects of which should not be underestimated," Ronald Maughan, Sports scientist at UK's Loughborough University who chaired the IOC working group, said.
"Some individual Muslim athletes say they perform better during Ramadan even if they are fasting because they're more intensely focused and because it's a very spiritual time for them," Maughan stated.
"Their faith gives them strength and Ramadan is an integral part of that faith," he told Reuters.