How will Ramadan have affected footballers attending the World Cup?
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With the 2018 World Cup coinciding with the end of the Muslim festival of Ramadan, many footballers will have had to balance fasting with training. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia are all attending the tournament in Russia this year, and all have majority or large Muslim populations. For some of those nations, Ramadan ends before their first game, while others such as Saudi Arabia, who lost 5-0 against Russia in the competition’s opening match, have reportedly deferred their fasting until after the tournament. But for those whose fasting has overlapped with training and playing, how will their preparation have been affected? Nigel Mitchell is one of the top sports nutritionists in the UK and has more than 20 years of experience working with leading athletes. “One of the biggest problems from the athletes’ perspective is fluid and hydration,” Mitchell told the Press Association. “Part of the fast is fluids, so if you train at the hottest time of the day then you’re not able to re-hydrate that’s going to have a big effect on the recovery.
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