To make it big as a professional athlete, one has to make sacrifices. That’s a rite of passage. From big to relatively small but significant, here are things, some of the popular athletes gave up on, to be able to succeed in their chosen sport. Read on.

1. Virat Kohli did not have butter chicken for 4 years to achieve a level of fitness that eventually saw him become the best batter of our times.

2. Murali Sreeshankar, the long jump athlete who won the historic silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, quit eating Parotta as a shapath to motivate himself. Safe to say it paid off.

3. Mumbai Indians bowler Kumar Kartikeya vowed not to meet his family until he became something. He recently met his mother after 9 years, during which he secured his first IPL contract, among other achievements.

4. Neeraj Chopra, who loved his long hair, got them cut specifically for his game. After winning the Olympics gold, he said, “It kept falling on my eyes, the hairstyle definitely didn’t help. That’s why I cut it off. If something unfortunate had happened, people would have pointed fingers at my long hair”.

Chiubaba

5. Meanwhile, MS Dhoni vowed to go bald if India won the 2011 World Cup. And he did. After India finished celebrating the victory, Dhoni went to his room and came back with his head shaved.

Inside Sport

6. Mirabai Chanu, who missed her real sister’s wedding to participate in the World Championships, 2017 returned with a gold medal.

Hindustan Times

7. Indian weightlifter Gururaja left home right after getting married and did not see his wife for more than 13 months in the lead-up to the preparations for the Commonwealth Games.

Live Mint

8. Olympics bronze medalist, Lovlina Borgohain, pretty much never had fast food for 8 years and stayed away from her family to concentrate on her game. This meant that she could not visit them even during the tough times, and that is something that pinches her to date.

9. For almost 6 years, Michael Phelps did not miss swimming for a single day. In an interview, he noted, “We went five or six years without missing a single day. 365 days. No days off, no birthday, no Christmas. We were in the water every single day”. As astounding as this is, it should be viewed with caution, putting in this much work would not be advisable in most cases. 

Olympics

10. During the lockdown, Suryakumar Yadav, or SKY, lost 12 kilograms in 3 months by completely turning around his diet and fitness routine. He gave up on sweets almost completely and stopped having grains. No sugar, no sweets, cut 90 per cent of rice and aata. I quit most high-carb food and switched to rotis from jowar, bajra and ragi with normal daal, sabzi or paneer. I also started working out twice a day. Previously it was five times a week (sic)”.

Republic World

It all adds up in the end.