A Malaysian shooter named Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi will compete in the 2012 Olympics, barely one month before she’s due to give birth. The BBC reports that although other pregnant women have competed in the Games in years past, Suryani will the be most heavily-pregnant woman to ever go for the gold.
“Since I started shooting in 1997, I’ve been dreaming of going to the Olympics,” she told reporters recently. “Most people said I was crazy and selfish because they think I am jeopardizing my baby’s health. My husband said grab it as this is a rare chance which may not come again. Also, I am the mother. I know what I can do. I am a stubborn person.”
A 29-year-old shooter currently ranked at 47th in the world, she qualified for the Olympics in January mere days after discovering that she was pregnant. Despite some early difficulties with morning sickness, Suryani had been holding out hope that her health would allow her to compete in the eighth month of pregnancy, and doctors say that she is fine to compete — although she will have to leave London soon after her event to avoid flying after 35 weeks.
Suryani conceded that it might be a bit tricky concentrating on precision while a child moves about in her womb, but insisted that she has a plan. “I will talk to the baby before I compete,” she has explained. “[I’ll say] no kicking, stay calm for one hour and 15 minutes only please.”
Although Suryani and her unborn child already make a unique Olympic team, there are some things that even they can’t do. When she also qualified for the 50m rifle competition, Suryani had to decline the invite because the event requires athletes to lie on their stomachs.
The 10-meter women’s air rifle is scheduled to be one of the first events of the games, taking place Saturday morning. Suryani has said that she expects being pregnant to give her “balance at the front and the back,” which might actually prove an advantage when she takes aim on Saturday.