Back in January, Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi received a considerable share of life-changing news. First, she discovered that she was pregnant. Then, two days later, she qualified to represent Malaysia in shooting at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Initially, Malaysian sporting officials were reluctant to let Nur Suryani compete in the Games, worried the travel and stress might effect her health and that the whole growing-a-human-inside-her-body thing would challenge her athletic performance. However, once her doctor gave the go-ahead, Nur Suryani insisted that she would go: "I said, ‘I got the qualification, so it's mine."


Nur Suryani, who is currently is ranked 47th in the world in the 10-meter air rifle event, insists that pregnancy has actually improved her aim:

"One advantage that I've seen is that my stability increased — maybe because my gravity increased, my weight increased."

Nur Suryani, is not the first pregnant woman to compete at the Olympic Games — a pregnant skeleton racer competed in the 2006 Winter Games, a pregnant curler competed in 2010 and, most charmingly, a pregnant figure skater won a gold medal in Sweden in 1920, to name a few — but she, at 8-months, will be the most pregnant woman to compete.


The athlete's main concern about London 2012 isn't that she'll fail to place or that she'll go into labor before competing. It's that her unborn daughter's kicking will throw off her aim. Says Nur Suryani, "I will talk to her, say, ‘Mum is going to shoot just for a while. Can you just be calm?"'

To her baby, she adds "You are very lucky, you're not born yet and you already went to the Olympics."

Pregnancy No Barrier to Malaysian's Olympic Journey [NYT]