QATARI parents, who wish to see their children develop as elite athletes, should keep an eye on their food and sleep habits at home from a very young age, said ASPIRE Academy Health Centre chief Dr Antonio Tramullas.
“Elite athletes reach their level not by chance. It takes much effort from them — discipline, a lot of sacrifice, ups and downs, and so on. To do well, they’ve to be ready for every training session and for that they need energy. Students must start their days with breakfast as skipping it will adversely affect the body reserves. Another important thing is sleep. The body needs to recover from the efforts at study and training, and for that you need good sleep,” said Tramullas, who spent 16 years at Barcelona FC before joining Aspire in 2013.
Sports has become a way of life for people in Spain and Europe in general, but Qatar, which is in the process of creating such a culture, should take deliberate efforts, he said.
“All major football players I dealt with in FC Barcelona, be it (Lionel) Messi, Xavi (Hernandez) or (Andres) Iniesta had come through the academy, which didn’t have the kind of facilities or resources like Aspire. The organisation here is much better than Barcelona or any other clubs in the world.
“In Spain or Europe in general for that matter, the kids find that sports is associated to everything. Here the society isn’t exactly like that. So what happens is that these kids don’t always grow up in the right background, in terms of physical education. And all of a sudden, they’ve to train twice daily. So that gap is big. That’s why I said parents must support kids more. I’m not saying that here they don’t support, but they should realise that the society is different.
“I mean the guidelines are different. I don’t think a Barcelona academy student will miss breakfast. When they’re in the academy, it’s mandatory. But when they come from home, they should’ve the breakfast. The parents should take care of that,” said Tramullas, who praised the lifestyle awareness programmes of the Aspire Zone and initiatives like the National Sports Day by the State of Qatar.
The Spaniard said Qatari parents should also show children the way by adopting healthy food habits.
“It’s also about the children seeing how people around them eat. How can I ask the children to take more fruits and vegetables when I’m biting into a burger. Parents are part of the team. Easy life isn’t compatible with elite sports,” added Tramullas.