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How young athletes combine sport and Ramadan – Brest

Anas (14) and Nabil (16) look alike like two brothers. “We are often told that! “, they laugh from the gallery of the gymnasium of Provence, in Brest. And right now, faith connects these two young basketball players even more. The two practicing Muslims are living their third Ramadan. That Wednesday, the two teenagers ate breakfast until 6:50 a.m. (Sahur) and broke their fast from 8:42 p.m. (Iftar). And before the evening meal, took part in their usual training session at Brest Métropole Basket, with the same involvement.

“One effort and we’re done”

“We have to manage our energy much better, all it takes is one too much effort and we’re completely cooked,” describes Nabil. “We know that when you’re out of breath, it’s going to be hard, since you can’t eat or drink. The throat dries up and there, quickly, we know that we have to listen to our body, ”supports Anas. The two have learned, over the years, to put a more attentive ear to the signals of their organism.

External signs to which Romain Le Cossec (27), the educator of the national U15s, also says he pays particular attention to this period: “We have to be more vigilant in terms of fatigue and dehydration. The objective is that they can continue to train, without injury, while respecting their convictions. Even if it means adapting their sessions: “We try to individualize as well as possible with the players concerned by this practice, to moderate the intensity a little more over time. As we already do throughout the season. »

In a Finistère football club, the club’s U15, U16 and U17 educator plays the same sensitivity with his young people: “The multitude of cultures is what makes the richness of a sport and a group. They are free of everything, as long as it does not interfere 100% with the practice of the sport and that there is respect. “In recent days, before the recent change of time, the educator authorized the concerned to break their fast during the late sessions, at the request of some players. “In the middle of the sessions, I was able to eat dates and drink water,” continues Ibrahim* (15), who plunged into his third Ramadan.

A break to break the fast

But if the training sessions can easily be adapted to the margins, the moments of competition are based on responsibility and dialogue between everyone. “It’s the relationship of trust that makes the difference,” continues Romain Le Cossec, from Brest Métropole Basket. It is up to them to manage their sleep and meal times. We take it into account, but they are independent on the management of the match. They should not be underestimated. »

“I don’t want them to exceed their limits over this period, and it’s even interesting for them to be able to request the replacement. It’s never easy to ask a coach for change. They have to take some responsibility, ”adds the educator of the Finistère football club.

“I forget that I want to eat”

Despite all the constraints and physical risks that this can bring to young bodies in full development, Anas, Nabil and Ibrahim never thought of putting sport in the background during this very specific exercise of their faith. Conversely, sport is even seen as life-saving. “It frees me from Ramadan, I forget that I want to eat,” says Ibrahim.

Anas the basketball player joins him: “Sport keeps you busy, helps pass the time. Often, when we do nothing during the day, we think about it a lot more. On social networks, during Ramadan, I only have videos about food, so I will necessarily think about it, whereas when I am at school or playing sports, I will no longer think about it. “It’s like an escape for them,” concludes the educator of the Finistère football club.

The name has been changed

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