Nutrition essential for modern-day athletes

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The stress on nutrition in modern-day sports is clear from the webinars being conducted for athletes and coaches during the lockdown.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist boxer Akhil Kumar has seen myths being busted about the diet of sportspersons.

“There were a lot of myths even in the late 1990s. For example, after the weigh-in we used to have sweets. Now boxers are advised against it. There was no idea about nutritious food, what to have and what not to have,” Akhil told The Hindu.

Former India hockey captain Mohammed Riaz agreed. “Many players don’t have any idea about nutrition before they reach the National camp. I also did not know much initially.

“It is a myth that vegetarian diet cannot give you strength. The Namdharis, one of the finest hockey teams, are strict vegetarians,” said Riaz.

Sanjeeva Singh, an Arjuna and Dronacharya award-winning archer, shared an interesting anecdote.

Objective has changed

“In (1988) Seoul Olympics, a bus used to leave from the Games Village to the Indian embassy every evening and athletes from one or two disciplines used to be the first ones to get into the bus and grab Indian food after reaching the embassy.

“The target was to fill the stomach,” said Sanjeeva. The objective, however, has changed.

“Whoever aspires to do well in Olympics, he/she needs to spend 15-20 days in foreign land, get used to their food habits and develop a taste for it.

“You cannot be starving because of your rigid food habits as it will affect performance. You need to know how much carbohydrate, protein and water you should have,” said Sanjeeva.

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