LONDON // She is shooting for two. A Malaysian woman who is eight months pregnant will compete in the 10-metre air rifle event at the London Games. She found out she would be a mother just days after she found out she would be an Olympian.
Nur Suryani Mohammed Taibi is due in September. Feeling some of mum's Olympic excitement, the baby is kicking, and between deep breaths Taibi will ask her unborn child for restraint during competition today.
"I will breathe in and breathe out and try to calm myself down and talk to baby: 'Behave yourself and help mummy to shoot'. And luckily she understands, she always understands," Taibi was quoted as saying yesterday.
Being pregnant means the 29-year-old Taibi has to get in and out of a special suit and belt for practice, but that is only one challenge: she is also drawing overwhelming attention that threatens her concentration ahead of competition today.
Her husband is a great support and helps her remain calm and focused on the positive.
"When you think negative things, it will give you more stress, then it will make your anxiety greater and then you cannot handle the stress and the situation," Taibi told the official Olympic news service. "It makes you less confident of yourself and less focused on yourself."
To her parents, the mother-to-be is already a champion.
"Whatever happens, I'm satisfied already," her father, Mohammed Taibi, told the Associated Press in a telephone interview yesterday from the family home in northern Malaysia.
"I'm proud of her. I've told her: If you can compete in the Olympics, that's such an achievement already - all the more when you're pregnant. We're her family, so we support her. We'll be praying for her."
Both parents will be watching the competition on television.
Taibi is ranked 47th in the world and won two golds at the South-east Asian Games in 10-metre air rifle and 50-metre rifle in November. She finished fifth in 10-metre rifle at the Asian Championships in January to earn a spot on Malaysia's Olympic team.
Taibi also qualified for the 50-metre three-position event, but she decided against competing in two Olympic events.
She is aware she could go into labour any moment now, although she said she hopes to win an Olympic medal before the baby comes.
"If I won the medal, I will see this is as yours as you helped mummy so much," Taibi said to her unborn child. "Maybe you give me more strength, more stability and more confidence."
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