Britain's first Muslim rower Mohamed Sbihi is paying for 1,800 meals for Moroccan street children after deciding he could not risk damaging his Olympic dream by fasting during Ramadan.

Sbihi, the son of a Moroccan father and English mother, felt a responsibility to the rest of the men's eight crew to be in peak physical condition for their tilt at Olympic gold.

The 25-year-old knew he could not guarantee that if he abstained from food and drink in daylight hours during the Islamic holy month, which began last Friday.

Sbihi's dissertation as part of his sports science degree was on the performance of top-class athletes without food or water.

But he needed to find a solution.

"I spoke to my family in great detail about what I could do," Sbihi said.

"It is written in the Quran that those who are unable to fast either have to feed 60 people or fast for 30 days for every day they miss intentionally.

"That worked out at 1,800 people or five years of fasting. I am fortunate I have the funds to pay and make a donation.

"I made the donation a month-and-a-half ago to an English-based charity, Walou 4 Us, that works with kids in Morocco.

"I hope to go to Morocco after the Olympics and I have been in touch about becoming an ambassador for the charity."

Sbihi, who was talent-spotted at the age of 15 by GB Rowing's World Class Start programme, observed the fasting rites until last year, when Ramadan fell in the build-up to the world championships.

Initially, Sbihi postponed his fast until the winter. But then he sat down with chief GB men's coach Jurgen Grobler, who urged him not to risk his golden Olympic opportunity.

"I really enjoy fasting but the opportunity is bigger than just for me. There are also eight other guys in our group and two coaches," Sbihi said.

"What I have chosen is the right decision for me. There will be other Muslims at this Games who are fasting and that will be the right decision with them.

"I haven't fasted now for two summers - last year it overlapped with qualification for the Olympics - and I have missed that.

"I postponed my fast last year. It was meant to be made up in the winter months but I spoke with Jurgen and he said 'this is the biggest opportunity in your life, at a home Games, and I don't want you to mess it up by not being on top form'."

The British men's eight line up in tomorrow's heat alongside Canada, the Netherlands and strong gold medal contenders Germany.