20 June, 2021

Gobhi Pachhad

Does the success of veggie stars stem from the leaf?

Gobhi Pachhad

Did wrestler Sushil Kumar really bite his opponent’s ear in the 66-kg freestyle wrestling semifinal? When he pointed out, tongue-in-cheek, that he couldn’t possibly have done any biting as he was vegetarian, his fans were taken by surprise: their beefy silver medallist, a mere leaf eater? But they may have missed Sushil’s winning smile on an old PETA poster. Other signs of a meaty vegetarian sportstar clique might have passed them by too: legendary US athlete Carl Lewis has been vegan for over 20 years. Tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams turned vegan early this year. Closer to home, Javagal Srinath, once labelled the ‘world’s fastest vegetarian bowler’, has been one most of his life. Now Sushil and India’s other Olympian poster boy, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, are new members. More sportsmen are also taking the veggie message public. Joining PETA are cricketers Anil Kumble and Murali Karthik.

Does this poke more holes in the theory of the great meat diet? Have we really made too much of meat’s protein benefits, especially...

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