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Egyptian athletes will not fast at Olympics

Sunday, July 15 2012 by SNTV
  • Intro:

    The High Egyptian Islamic Cleric announced that Olympic athletes representing their country no longer need to fast while in training or competition.


    Here in Egypt's Olympic training camp, south of Cairo, athletes are making their final preparations ahead of the London 2012 Games.

    The largely Islamic Egyptian Olympic team however face a dual challenge - coping with the interruptions of political instability and facing the prospect of fasting through the holy month of Ramadan.

    While struggling to remain at peak physical fitness, Islamic tradition demands they stop eating or drinking from sunrise till sunset.

    Fortunately though for the Egyptian athletes, there has been a reprieve.

    The High Egyptian Islamic Cleric announced a fatwa (Islamic Advice) stating Olympic athletes are not required to fast during coaching or competition.

    Egypt's pentathlon coach welcomes the exemption, without it, he says, his athletes have no hope of winning a medal.

    SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Sherif Al Eryan, vice president of the Egyptian Pentathlon Union and pentathlon's coach in London 2012 Olympics:
    "Concerning the month of Ramadan that will occur during the London 2012 Olympics, I guess there is no problem. Our athletes will not fast and will be having their full menu in an open buffet in London's Olympic Village. Our athletes could never achieve anything if they fasted this year. We had a meeting a couple of days before with Egypt's Islamic Cleric "Dr. Ali Gomaa" who advised them not to fast during the competition, so they have a religious permission for this. But it is necessary for them as Muslims to fast after the month of Ramadan for the days they had to eat during the Olympics. Concerning me and the rest of the coaches and Olympic directors, we will be fasting as we're not making as much effort as the athletes."

    As his athletes put their final preparations in for the Games later this month - they must surely be thankful they are allowed to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world.

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