We caught up with OUWFC striker Iesha Swaby, who takes part in Ramadan as part of her Islamic faith, to chat about the challenges and benefits of fasting as a footballer.
“Ramadan is a month every year that is based off the sun rising and setting, we fast for a month where we don’t eat or drink until a certain time depending on when the sun sets, which is called iftar. We do that annually and at the end of the month we have a celebration called Eid where we celebrate all the blessing we’ve received during the fast.
What does a typical day of fasting look like for Swaby, who balances her faith with work and football?
“For me, I find it quite easy. Everyone’s different but I’m always on the go, so time goes quickly. I wake up, do what I have to do and by the time my day is done it’s almost time to break my fast. Likewise, at training, it’s a two-hour drive anyway so by the time I get here I break my fast pretty soon after I arrive.
“The girls always ask me ‘How do you do it?’, but it’s just mindset and dedication. You have to know in your head that you’re not going to eat or drink, and it’s all in your head because if you start to feel like you can’t do it that’s when the struggles arise.
“It’s easier on training days because training is later, and on matchdays, I see it as time flying by when I’m training or playing; I’m doing what I love.
“I’ve been doing it for years but this one has been the best one for me. I feel at my happiest and every time I do it I feel great when I wake up, the sun’s out now and I just feel happy.
How have your teammates and coaches at Oxford United helped out?
“I think the girls look up to me a little! I need to shoutout Jaime (Gotch) because she bought me a drink for iftar on the first day and she said she was just thinking about me and how hard it must be. It’s about the people around me and I appreciate everyone here for helping me through it.