PMB dietician helped Indian Olympic shottist to gold medal

2008-08-19 00:00

While South Africa might have been unlucky at the Olympics, a Pietermaritzburg dietician had a winning formula for a competitor from India who scooped gold.

Dietician Rowena Curr runs her private practice in Pietermaritzburg and Durban with special focus on sport nutrition.

Her client, Abhinav Bindra, a rifle shottist, was referred to her while he was in Durban training for the Olympics.

“A colleague of mine who is a psychologist often works closely with him before competitions. He apparently receives funding from his government to train here. He was struggling with his concentration, and since his sport requires a high amount of concentration, I helped him develop a diet to keep him calm but alert,” she said.

Curr’s winning formula was to eliminate all the refined foods, which can affect concentration.

She replaced this with enough calories, carbohydrates, lean proteins, fats, fruits and vegetables to keep Bindra’s energy levels up.

“We developed a training diet which had small, regular meals throughout the day. He needed well balanced meals of slow-releasing, carbohydrate-rich foods to keep blood-sugar levels stable. He also had to avoid caffeine.”

However, for the Olympics Curr had a different recipe all together.

“I gave him guidelines on what to eat, drink and how much. Abhinav had … a 45-minute break between qualifying and the finals. If he got hungry, it would affect his concentration. If he ate too much, he would feel sluggish and tired. We looked at all those things and had a meal replacement drink for him in case he developed an upset tummy from the nerves and things like that.”

Curr said she was excited to see her client at the Olympics grabbing gold and believes good nutrition might just be the formula.

“Research proves that nutrition plays a vital role … and I think it should be seen as one of the winning components. As a build-up to competition, athletes need to be eating high energy foods.

Curr can be reached at 033 342 2649.

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