London Olympics: Malaysian shooter competes on a full stomach
— It took a moment to get the baby to stop kicking. It took a few deep breaths and a few calming words.
Telling her unborn daughter to settle down, Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi quietly added: “Mommy’s going to shoot here.”
Then she shouldered her weapon and fired away.
The 29-year-old Malaysian woman finished well down the list at Saturday’s 10-meter air rifle event but attracted some attention for competing while eight months pregnant.
Though the record books contain no such category, officials believe she is farther along in her pregnancy than any other woman ever to participate in the Olympics.
An accomplished marksman, Mohd Taibi qualified for the 2012 London Games in late winter. Both her doctor and her husband — a policeman — encouraged her to make the trip barely a month before her due date.
“I only feel pain when I walk too much … sometimes I forget that I’m pregnant,” she said, adding: “I’m quite stubborn.”
Rifle shooting does not involve much movement. To the contrary, competitors stand as still as possible. If anything, the added weight gives Mohd Taibi a lower center of gravity.
But a growing baby bump isn’t so good for the stiff leather suits that shooters wear. That required some tailoring.
“There’s one person in Malaysia who can do all of the jackets,” she said. “I just sent it to him and said, ‘Make it bigger.’”
At the Royal Artillery Barracks on Saturday, eight of her 40 shots missed the mark and she failed to make it out of qualifying. Americans Jamie Gray and Sarah Scherer advanced, ultimately placing fifth and seventh, respectively.
Finishing 34th was just fine by Mohd Taibi, who departed the venue with a broad smile, saying that she had lived out a dream.
And gained a story to tell little Dayana Widyan someday.
“She’s very lucky,” Mohd Taibi said. “She’s not being born yet and she’s already competing in the Olympics.”
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