NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14 – The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) held its third online sports conference on Thursday educating sportspersons on nutrition as they continue training from home because of the novel coronavirus that has shut down sports globally.
The webinar, themed ‘The Home Athlete Nutrition Plan’ was aimed at giving sportspeople tips on proper nutrition as the sports world continues to grapple with prolonged inactivity stemming from the COVID-19.
World Half Marathon record holder, Geoffrey Kamworor headlined the list of panelists which also included boxer, Elizabeth Andiego as well as nutritionists Erick Kihugwa and Mercy Barwecho.
Barwecho, who is the deputy chief Nutritionist at Kenyatta National Hospital, emphasized the importance of nutrition for the athlete.
“At the most basic level, nutrition is important for athletes because it provides a source of energy required to perform the activity. The food we eat impacts on our strength, training, performance and recovery,” she said.
She gave dietary tip to enable athletes stay in competitive shape during this period of inactivity, adding that; “Athletes need to be disciplined with their diets during this period of inactivity. They can improvise by using locally available foods such as sweet potatoes and bananas.”
“It is also important to maintain healthy eating habits involving food diversification where we are able to have an intake of proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins in equal measure. It is also very important to keep free from the COVID19 infection,” she further advised.
On his part, Kihugwa, who is a clinical practitioner at Kenyatta National Hospital, shared dietary tips for non-elite athletes looking to stay fit during COVID-19.
“It is important to take foods that boost your immunity such as fruits and vegetables.”
Andiego, who in 2012 became the first woman to represent Kenya in boxing at the Olympics weighed in, saying, “I have not been too strict with my diet. This is due to the fact that we don’t have any competitions on the horizon.”
She further spoke about the challenges of getting specific foods at a time when the slow down resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has played a massive role in slowing down economic activity worldwide.
Even though sport has ground to a halt globally, Kamworor observed that he hasn’t made any major changes to his routine.
“I haven’t made changes to my diet. I have maintained the same diet I follow when preparing for competition.”
He also shared part of his diet regime pre and post event, noting that… “I ensure that my diet is balanced before and after any competition I am engaged it.”
Speaking about competition, Kamworor said, “We were in top shape when COIVD-19 came along. Staying at home requires a lot of discipline. I am training alone at home, following my training regimes to keep fit. We will come back stronger when competition resumes…expect great results.”
He further thanked the NOC-K for facilitating this webinar. “I have learnt a lot in terms of nutrition. I will make adjustments to my diet program. This info is relevant to sports people. I also hope to resume strong.”