Former Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Celtic defender Kolo Touré has opened up on the impact of Ramadan fasting on him as a player and now a coach.
“My religion is everything and without my religion I don’t think I would be who I am now, because I feel like my religion gave me progress and made me a better person,” Touré, now Leicester City FC first team coach, told Sky Sports.
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Hijri Islamic calendar. It commemorates the first revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad.
From dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations).
This year, Ramadan starts on April 2, in the middle of a busy sports schedule in the UK, where many practicing Muslims play.
Though he had faced some challenges playing while fasting, the former Arsenal captain noted the significant improvement in his performance during his playing days during Ramadan and the psychological improvement he experienced over the years.
“You have to make sure they don’t notice that you are fasting,” he said.
“I think that’s the key. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do. Every time I try to be more focused on training, try to not show any weaknesses.”
Dismissing fears and worries associated with Ramadan with regard to sportsmen, a FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC) study established that young male national football players who observe Ramadan fasting in a controlled environment show no compromise in their physical and physiological performance or reduction in their subjective well-being.
The study is replicated to investigate a wider range of elite level players.
Another study published in May 2012 in the journal of sports science showed that, generally, Ramadan fasting has minor effects on health and physical fitness.