How Lindenwood athletes balanced Ramadan fasting and sports


Photo by Abby Eyoun

Lindenwood student-athletes Layaly Ramadan (left) and Jenna Ramadanat Eastern Illinois University during a meet on March 24-25.

Hadel Abdelkarim, Reporter

Balancing sports and fasting during Ramadan can be physically and mentally challenging but Lindenwood student-athletes managed to do it all.

Ramadan is a month when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset with no food or water. Lindenwood’s Muslim student-athletes had to learn to adjust their lifestyle and learn how to fast and still practice their sports at the same time.

Miraji Ahmed, Lindenwood’s Track and Field athlete has been fasting since he was seven years old. He explained some of the challenges that he faced while fasting and being on Track.

“The biggest challenge is like you feel very thirsty in the middle of it when you’re running so much, your mouth gets dry,” Ahmed said.

Even though fasting while playing a sport can be challenging, Ahmed does not want to feel like he needs to work less compared to his teammates.

“I don’t even want people to be like ‘Oh he’s fasting, so he needs to do less stuff. He’s fasting so this will be harder on him,’ because it’s not harder for me because I pray every day, and make dua [making prayer],” Ahmed said.

Another student-athlete is Jenna Ramadan who has been fasting since she was nine years old. She explained how she balances her practice routine while fasting and what lifestyle changes must be made.

“I make sure to get plenty of rest before practice so I’m not feeling worn out before even getting there, so instead of going to get lunch I will go to my room lay down, or go to the LARC and get some homework done,” Jenna said.

Ramadan said her coaches are supportive of her and she explained to them about Ramadan and what it is. Jenna also told her coaches that she was fine to complete her workout and didn’t need to cut them short.

“My coaches have been very supportive, making sure I’m okay during workouts or during meets, even though I tell my coach not to baby me and cut my workouts if ever needed,” Jenna said.

Even though she is used to fasting, it can still be challenging at times, especially when it comes to having no water.

“I’ve run in four meets this year while fasting and the biggest challenge I would say would have to be being under the sun with no water, and since track meets are very long you are out in the sun all day,” Jenna said. “You get done with your first event and sit there waiting a few more hours for your next event. It drains you, but you start to get used to it and you always feel accomplished and good after racing all your events healthy.”

Another student-athlete on the track team is Layaly Ramadan who has been fasting since she was about six years old. Just like Ahmed and Jenna, one of the biggest challenges that she faced is not being able to drink water at meets. However, Layaly always makes sure that she gets prepared beforehand.

“I just eat a lot more during suhoor [a meal before dawn] and drink a lot, so I can have a good practice,” Layaly said.

If Layaly is at a meet during the time of the call of prayer, called athan, she will eat on the bus.

“Usually, I break my fast on our way home in the bus, we get a team dinner and I just eat that on the bus when it’s athan, it’s nice,” Layaly said.