League: Sonny Bill fits Ramadan into training

SBW will play and train for month without food and water during daylight hours.

Sonny Bill Williams with NRL buddy Willie Tonga at a Sydney cafe.
Sonny Bill Williams with NRL buddy Willie Tonga at a Sydney cafe.

He's fast - and now fasting.

Kiwi league star and former All Black Sonny Bill Williams will play and train for the next month without food or water during daylight hours because of his religious beliefs.

The devout Muslim and Sydney Rooster is observing Ramadan, the holy month of fasting between dawn and dusk that began on Saturday, the Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday.

The newspaper reported that the superstar would go without food and fluids from 7am and would not even sip water for the Roosters' daytime game against the Panthers on July 19.

The Telegraph reported that Williams had spoken to dietitians and the team's sports science staff to carefully plan his regimen over the next four weeks.

The newspaper reported that Williams was so respected at the Roosters that they could adjust their training schedule this month, allowing him to train after sunset instead of during the day.

Experts said that Williams' superb fitness would help him through the month.

The club's head of performance, Keegan Smith, was advising the champion forward on a diet that ensures he can maintain high energy levels. It will include breads, cereals, grain products, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese, yoghurt and lots of water.

Williams - who married in secret last year - is not the first footballer to play NRL matches while observing Ramadan.

Former goalkicking champion Hazem El Masri, another devout Muslim, did the same thing at the Bulldogs back in 2009, the Telegraph reported.

"If you have the will and belief, you can achieve whatever you desire," El Masri said.

"Ramadan is a month of sacrifice. A month of dedication. People think of it as only abstaining from food and drink, but it's more than that.

"It's realising the position you are in. How lucky you are to have food and water to eat and drink."

How likely is SBW's return to the All Blacks? Click here for more.

- NZ Herald

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