Madras prawn to chicken tikka masala: Indian cuisine in Paris Games Village menu

The IOA has prepared a chart for Olympic-bound athletes to help them with their nutritional needs
The logo of Indian Olympic Association, used for representative purposes only.
The logo of Indian Olympic Association, used for representative purposes only.

CHENNAI: From Chicken Tikka Masala to Lamb Korma and Madras prawn to Butter Chicken, Indian athletes will enjoy these delicacies at the Asian district lunch and dinner menu at the Games Village during the Paris Olympics. It is not just Indian dishes that are available for the athletes but there are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food options as well. 

In a novel initiative, the Indian Olympic Association has prepared a chart for Olympic-bound athletes to help them with their nutritional needs. The chart lists out cuisines available at the Olympic Games Village under different heads. The menu will be served on an eight-day rotational basis. The Indian contingent will be reaching the venue around July 18-20 for the July 26-August 11 event. "Most of the athletes are already working with their respective nutritionists," Aradhana Sharma, IOA-appointed chief nutritionist for the Paris Olympics, told this daily. 

"I have been in touch with those nutritionists and we have shared the menu with them and asked them to prepare the diet plan according to this menu because athletes will be eating in the village. For the other athletes whose personal nutritionists are not travelling, we will be supervising what the athletes are eating if they are sticking to the diet plan or not, or if there is any last-minute information they need about food or if anything needs to be replaced in their diet plans. We have shared this menu with most of the athletes and their nutritionists," she informed.

For this purpose, IOA has created "A Comprehensive Food & Nutrition Guide for Olympic Bound Athletes", which will help India's 120-strong contingent to plan their nutrition and meet their recovery goals. "This guide is an attempt to provide important information to all the Olympic-bound athletes regarding dining arrangements, meal options and their nutritional benefits, at the Olympic village in Paris.

This knowledge will help the athletes to pre-plan their nutrition for optimal fueling before and during competitions, and to meet their recovery goals. Our aim is to optimally fuel the athletes on their Olympic journey," the guide explains.

The IOA, for the first time, has assembled a 13-member medical team headed by orthopaedic surgeon Dhinshaw Pardiwala, which includes two nutritionists, Dr. Sharma and Ms Mihira Khopkar. IOA believes that if you bring in more professionals, you will get better services for the athletes.

According to IOA nutritionists, the Olympic Village has four districts serving various food and beverages. There will be French, World, Asian and Halal districts serving various foods.

According to the chart, in each district there will be a salad bar, hot buffet breakfast, hot buffet lunch and dinner. There will be desserts, condiments and breads. Some food items such as fruits, yogurt, breads, pastries, cheese, nuts, dry fruits etc. will be present across all the districts on a daily basis,

"The International Olympic Committee (read Organising committee of the Games) has divided it into four districts and there is a huge variety of choices of food from different parts of the world for athletes to choose from. For female athletes, it will take care of their different protein and micronutrient requirements.

Female athletes performing at this level are aware of their requirements even during the menstrual cycle and at the same time, they have been guided for that. The athletes need to adjust their food timings now so it doesn't come as a shock because of time differences and weather changes. If they are to make changes, it is now. We have encouraged them to try the varieties of food," Sharma mentioned.

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