GUANGZHOU, China// A trio of UAE shooters could only watch in admiration yesterday as Gim Yun-mi, a South Korean who is seven months pregnant, came from behind to win the gold medal in the individual 10-metre air pistol competition at the Asian Games yesterday.
Emiratis Sumaya al Meshaiei, Sheikha al Rumaithi and Shamma al Muhairi finished 35th, 49th and 52 respectively - well adrift of Gim, 28, who outlasted China's Sun Qi for her first international victory.
"I'm just speechless," Gim said.
Her baby bump was barely noticeable beneath a black T-shirt and baggy tracksuit.
Gim credits the baby, due early next year, with keeping her focused after she experienced pre-competition jitters.
"I think my baby helped me stay calm and relaxed," she said. "I am so happy that we won the gold together."
Gim, a newlywed, said she switched to the less noisy 10-metre air pistol event when she learned she was pregnant with her first child. She originally planned to skip the Asian Games and focus on the 2012 London Olympics.
But after she posted unexpectedly good results at the nationals recently, her husband encouraged her to go to Guangzhou
"I was worried that I'd be a burden to my team because of the baby," Gim said. "But they were all very understanding and generous."
The 28-year-old shooter from the southern South Korean city of Gyeongju said a phone call from her husband on Saturday also helped calm her nerves, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Gim earlier teamed up with Kim Byung-hee and Lee Ho-lim to win the team gold in the 10-metre air pistol competition yesterday.
The UAE team finished 13th.
Gim said she would share the golds with her new baby. But first, she wants to get back home and celebrate.
"All I want now is to go back home to Gyeongju to see my husband," she said. "And I just want to eat Korean food."
Meanwhile, China's Li Ping set two world records yesterday on her way to winning the women's 53-kg weightlifting division.
Li broke an eight-year-old world mark in the snatch when she lifted 103kgs, beating the weight hoisted by North Korea's Ri Song Hui at the 2002 Asian Games. She then lifted 127kgs in the clean and jerk for a total of 230kgs, improving the record for the combined mark.