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Pregnant Olympian: Malaysian shooter shrugs off criticism

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Rebecca Blackwell/AP

(Read caption) Olympian Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi, who is eight months pregnant and a shooter with the Malaysian team, trained for the 10-meter air rifle event at the Royal Artillery Barracks ahead of the the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

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And I thought I was cool for running a mile or two when I was eight months pregnant. (I called it the “ruddle,” a mix between a run and a waddle.) Next week, the very pregnant Malaysian shooter Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi is going to compete in the Olympics, representing her country in the 10-meter rifle event.

And then she’ll hurry up and get on a plane home because her doctors don’t want her flying after 35 weeks.

I am in love.

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It is no easy feat to be an athlete and a pregnant woman at the same time. With all that stuff going on in the bod, adding extra physical stress is hard. Even for the immortals.

Marathon world-record holder Paula Radcliffe, for instance, said that training during her first trimester was the hardest physical task she had ever confronted. This kept me from feeling pathetic for months. (Of course, the Radcliffe continued to run 14 miles a day while pregnant and then won the 2007 New York City Marathon months after giving birth, but she is a different species.)

But it’s not just the physical toll. When you’re pregnant and trying to exercise, you get a lot of flak. People on the street scowl at you. Acquaintances tell you you’re being selfish and are hurting your baby. Older relatives bite their tongues.

All of this despite study after study that shows that exercise helps, rather than hurts, both mom and little runner – or shooter – to be. 

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