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8 months pregnant athlete clinches Taekwondo gold medal



(CNN) — A visibly pregnant Nigerian athlete has clinched a gold medal at the ongoing National Sports Festival, securing gold in the multi-sport event, which happens every two years in the country.

Aminat Idrees, 26, who is eight months pregnant, won in the Mixed Poomsae category in Taekwondo, organizers said Monday, describing her achievements as “inspiring.”

Idrees, who could be seen in a footage shared on Twitter demonstrating different combat techniques, also picked up other medals in a non-combat simulated category of Taekwondo known as Poomsae.

Idrees told CNN Wednesday that she feels elated by her accomplishment at the event which took place in Edo State.

“It’s such a privilege for me. I just decided to give it a try after training a couple of times… It feels really good,” she said.

“Before I got pregnant, I have always enjoyed training, so it didn’t seem different with pregnancy,” Idrees added.

However, not everyone has found her participation in the games inspiring.

Some have criticized her for taking part in the sport because of her advanced stage of pregnancy.

One Twitter user, Iga Moore, wrote: “This (is) rather sickening than Inspiring.”

While another commenter, Angela, said: “This is how they get themselves into problems and stress maternity staff for preventable problems.”

But others defended her involvement in the sports festival.

“I love the way she made the sequencing so easy to the eyes. Awesome performance. Let those with the ignorant comments bury their heads in shame. Poomsae is not a fight but a tactical combination of movements against imaginary attacks,” said Twitter user Tope Adebayo.

Idrees said many of her critics are unaware of the various forms of Taekwondo.

“A lot of people don’t understand what Taekwondo is actually about. I feel this is an avenue to educate people about this. Taekwondo has two branches: the combat sport and Poomsae — which is a form of exercise…just displaying the hand and leg techniques in Taekwondo. I participated in Poomsae event,” she told CNN.

“I felt there wasn’t much risk attached to it, so I decided to give it a try. My doctor, as well as the organizing body of the games certified me fit to participate in the non-contact sport,” the expectant mother added.

In a statement sent to CNN Wednesday afternoon, the chairman of the organizing committee of this year’s National Sports Festival, Philip Shaibu, said Idrees was allowed to participate in the games after medical examination.

“She was certified and cleared to participate. She had also been training for months prior to her participation in the tournament,” Shaibu said.

(Copyright (c) 2021 CNN. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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Heavily pregnant Idrees wins taekwondo gold at Nigerian National Sports Festival –



Aminat Idrees who is eight months pregnant said she was given the green light from medical professionals to compete in Edo State ©National Sports Festival

Taekwondo player Aminat Idrees has spoken of her shock at the attention she has received since winning three medals, including gold, at the Nigerian National Sports Festival while eight months pregnant.

Representing Lagos State, Idrees captured gold in the pair poomsae, silver in the team poomsae and bronze in the individual poomsae in Edo State.

The 26-year-old’s achievements in the non-contact event, which consists of a set of sequence movements, went viral but she said she did not expect her success to hit headlines across the world.

“I am not a social media person,” Idrees told ESPN.

“I don’t like noise and I don’t like attention because I am very shy.

“I just wanted to have fun participating at this tournament.

“It was the passion, that was the driving force. 

“The passion for the sport of taekwondo, so all the noise and all the attention that came afterwards was a surprise – a very big surprise to me.

“I did not anticipate it would be this loud.

“Not this loud, not to Nigeria, not to the world.

“But I believe that we as humans, we want something but it is God who decides so it all came by surprise to me.”

Idrees said she took part in a few training sessions before being given the all-clear by medical professionals to compete at the festival.

“Attending the sports festival was never a personal decision,” Idrees said.

“First I had to pray about it then I discussed with my husband, consulted doctors, and the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation.

“I decided to participate in this tournament because I know that it is something I could do.

“I’ve been training consistently and there [hasn’t] been much difficulty during and after training.

“My coaches believe in me as much as I believe in myself.

“I was ready physically and mentally for the tournament despite my pregnancy, since it wasn’t combat it was just a demonstration.

“Moreover, the major poomsae events at the festival lasted for about two hours, which is more like my normal training duration so it was just as normal as any training day.”

Organisers of the festival hailed Idrees’ gold-medal success as “inspiring” to other pregnant women.

“I would advise pregnant women to exercise, of course, but only as it has been recommended by their doctors,” added Idrees.

“It is easy for me because it is something I have been doing for over 18 years.

“My system has already adapted to it.

“That is why I could do that without stress.

“You should not try what you have not done before.

“Majorly, just follow doctor’s advise.”

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