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Surbiton rower to donate money to charity

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Surbiton’s Mohamed Sbihi has had to forgo fasting in order to win an Olympic gold medal but has found a way of redressing his misgivings.

Walou4Us is a charity that will help him provide food for 60 people a day, which is what is required by the Koran.

“It says in the Koran that those unable to fast can either feed 60 people, or fast 30 days, for every day they have missed intentionally,” he explained.

“That worked out at either 1,800 people, or five years’ fasting. I’m very fortunate to be in the position to make a donation, but have really bought into this charity’s mission.

“Hopefully, I will be going over to see their work after the Games, and have spoken to them about becoming an ambassador.”

The Koran does allow people to eat food if they are having difficulty fasting and dehydration is something that could have affected Sbihi at Eton Dorney on Saturday.

“In the Koran it does say that if you do feel unwell, if you’re struggling with the fasting, then it’s actually bad to continue,” he explained.

“You should eat, then, and you should drink. That’s in scripture. But I must make it clear that what I’ve chosen is only the right way for me.

“There will be other Muslims at these Games who will be fasting.”

1992 Olympic gold medallist Greg Searle is relishing the opening heat of the men’s eight in a multi-talented crew including cox Phelan Hill, Constantine Louloudis at stroke, Olympic silver medallists Matthew Langridge, Ric Egington and Alex Partridge as well as world silver medallists James Foad, Tom Ransley and Sbihi.

“It’s a privilege to row with such a talented crew”, said Searle. “It will feel different to 20 years ago but it will also be the same. I wanted to win then and we are ambitious to do the same here.”

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