October 27, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Dalilah Muhammad: How the Olympic champions observed Ramadan during the coronavirus pandemic

World and Olympic champion on quarantine during Ramadan
Sacred sites and mosques are closed, loved ones are separated from each other. Many traditions and routines must be changed because a virus that has changed the world.

“My family is in New York and New York has been hit very hard. Just far from them, it’s been rather difficult.

“My parents, they’re fine. My sister also lives in New York and she’s fine with her family. It’s good to know that they’re okay, but I really hope I can take the time to look every one.”

At the 2016 Olympics, Muhammad won gold in a 400 meter hurdle on a rainy night in Rio de Janeiro. His victory made him one of two American Muslim woman to win medals at the Olympics (fencing player Ibtihaj Muhammad won bronze). Last year, Muhammad broke it own world record in claiming the world title 400m hurdles in Doha.

During the month of Ramadan – which starts this year on the evening of April 23 – Muslims do not eat and drink during the daytime, a practice seen as one of the five pillars of Islam. They can eat before sunrise, and break their fast after dusk every day.

With athletic matches being canceled all over the world, these unusual times at least gave Muhammad, 30, the chance to fast for a whole month, something he normally could not do when competing.

“I certainly use this opportunity to fast more than usual,” he explained. “I always try to fast a few days during this season. To be honest, it is very difficult for me to train as hard as I do and fast.

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“I have never been able to do 30 full days or a whole month and this time I promise to really do it. I can do it now because my training is not that strong. There are no big championships to prepare for.”

At this time of the day can last for more than 13 hours in Los Angeles, where New Yorker Muhammad lives. So, fasting is not easy and, of course, there is a desire to be overcome and traditions that must be maintained.

“Growing up, my father always broke his fast with a date and just being in California, I just keep that tradition,” he said.

“I’ve craved sweets at this time, and it’s something that I never really wanted. I’m not such a big, sweet person, but for whatever reason, even last night [April 27] I crave cinnamon buns, I like crossing my fingers that Cinnabon will open. Of course not. So it definitely wants candy; had a couple of Dunkin Donuts last night. “

Dalilah’s father, Askia, was a priest and had ensured Muhammad’s family remained in contact during the crisis.

“My father implies that we need to do this once a week. I don’t think we have done it once a week, but we are indeed trying to take the time to make Zoom calls. Look at everyone’s faces. I have certainly had lots of FaceTiming.”

Muhammad posed for a portrait during the 2020 shoot of the US Olympic Team on November 19, 2019.

Olympic potential “heartbreak”

In March, it was announced that the Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled to take place this summer, would be held postponed until 2021 “To protect the health of athletes, everyone involved in the Olympics and the international community.”

For Muhammad, plans to retain the title he won four years ago were arrested.

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“I understand the decision to arrest him in 2021, of course I agree with that,” he said.

“But, for me personally, it’s a little disappointing. We as athletes, our lives are planned for about four years and we know every fourth year will be an Olympics and we sort of schedule our training around it and really our lives, our personal lives. “

Muhammad imagined on his way to win gold in Rio 2016.
Since the announcement of the initial postponement, Tokyo 2020 Olympic President Yoshiro Mori has indicated that if the pandemic continues to the Olympics can be canceled.

“That would be very heartbreaking,” Muhammad admitted. “We sacrifice a lot for the Olympics and only represent our country, and we love what we do.

“I tried hard to get a medal at the Olympics and I will be the defending champion, the Olympic champion, and it is really disappointing. We just have to see how things work.”

Take care of the dogs

With a closed running track, Muhammad has practiced in the grass fields in Northridge, Los Angeles. After initially practicing alone, he has now returned to work with his trainer while keeping a social distance from community members – even though there are dogs to explore.

Muhammad said: “There are many dogs in the park today, many people walk their dogs and dogs don’t do that [social distancing]!

“I really enjoy running for fun again. I think we are very focused on aspects of the competition and, of course, the important thing is to be a professional athlete, but I really just enjoy getting out there and running.”

An asthma sufferer, fast runner Noah Lyles takes extra precautions amid a pandemic
Who rules World Athlete of the Year has also spent time in locking taking part in online challenges.
He helped release the relay challenges in him Instagram account with other Nike-sponsored sports stars, including NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., while fellow American goalkeeper Queen Harrison asked her to take part in Don’t rush-style challenges, which features people who smoothly change from everyday clothes to more glamorous clothing with a flick of make-up brushes.

“It’s just a way for us to express ourselves. Wearing nice clothes, or different clothes, which we usually wear when we are training, so it’s fun,” he said.

Although one challenge he has not yet taken is dress up to take out the trash.

“No, I’m not one of those people, not yet. Maybe sometimes go to the grocery store, but that’s all,” he said.

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