Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi is the first Malaysian woman rifle shooter to qualify for the Olympics and she's determined to compete -- she isn't letting anything hold her back, including her pregnancy. By the time the games roll around, she'll be seven months along.
According to The Star, Suryani has been training as hard as ever to prepare for London. National Sports Council's (NSC) elite program director Mohd Ariffin Ghani said, "Suryani has not backed down although she is entering her fourth month of pregnancy. We received a progress report that she is coping quite well with the training. It takes much courage and determination to do what she is doing."
Some naysayers, including those in charge of the Olympic Council of Malaysia think Suryani should drop out, the News Straits Times reports. If for some reason Suryani can't make the trip, Arrifin said there are a few competitors ready to take her spot.
But for now, the shooter is ignoring everyone's doubts.
Suryani will join the ranks of only three other pregnant Olympians throughout history, Yahoo Sports reports. Most recently, Kristie Moore -- at five-and-a-half-months -- competed on the Canadian Olympic curling team in 2010. Swedish figure skater, Magda Julin, won the gold medal in 1920 and Diana Sartor from Germany placed fourth in skeleton in 2006.
And while Suryani will be the only pregnant woman in the 2012 games, she won't be the only athlete juggling motherhood and competition. U.S. field hockey player, Keli Smith, gave birth to her second child on August 31, 2011 and was in the gym training just six weeks later. She's been playing ever since and is hopeful that she'll be ready for London this summer. Becoming a mother, she told Sports Illustrated, changed more than just her body. Before, Smith said she had difficulty turning the game off mentally, even after it was over. But she noticed a change post-motherhood, "I felt I was enjoying the sport more because I was able to turn it off when I was off the field," she said.
Mickey Kelly, 34, took a four-month break after giving birth and is now vying for a spot on the U.S. team in modern pentathlon (shooting, swimming, fencing, riding and running). According to USA Today, Kelly recently competed in a World Cup in Charlotte, N.C. and even breastfed her baby girl, Lillian Grace Brady, in between the fencing and swimming events.
Forty-year-old, Janet Evans, took a longer hiatus –- 14 years -– from her sport, swimming. Already a five-time Olympic medalist, Evans is now getting back into the water, after having two kids.
"It's not about making the Olympics," she told the NYTimes. "It's about my body being able to do things that my mind is telling it to do." And her daughter, Sydney, says she wants to be an Olympic runner when she grows up.
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