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Inspiring: Nigerian athlete wins gold medal in Taekwondo at eight months pregnant

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A Nigerian woman has won a gold medal in Taekwondo at the ongoing National Sports Festival while eight months pregnant, proving that women are capable of achieving their goals while pregnant and parenting.

Aminat Idrees, 26, won in the Mixed Poomsae, a non-combat category of Taekwondo, leading organizers of the event to call her win “inspiring.” She also won additional medals in other non-combat categories of Taekwondo.

“It’s such a privilege for me,” said Idrees. “I just decided to give it a try after training a couple of times… It feels really good. Before I got pregnant, I have always enjoyed training, so it didn’t seem different with pregnancy.”

While the event organizers celebrated her achievement, there were some on social media who criticized Idrees, calling her participation in the sport at eight months pregnant “rather sickening.”

 

However, Idrees’ doctor approved of her participation in the non-contact sport and the organizers of the games also gave her the go-ahead.

“She was certified and cleared to participate,” said Philip Shaibu, chairman of the organizing committee of the National Sports Festival. “She had also been training for months prior to her participation in the tournament.”

Idrees told CNN that her critics simply aren’t aware of the different forms of Taekwondo, including Poomsae. She sees this win — and the controversy surrounding it — as a teaching opportunity.

“A lot of people don’t understand what Taekwondo is actually about,” she said. “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 the Poomsae event.”

Regardless of her level of participation in the sport, critics seemed to turn a blind eye to the approval Idrees received from her doctor and in doing so exposed hypocrisy that exists concerning pregnancy. The quickness at which people were willing to criticize Idrees speaks to a large problem in society: people speak harshly of women who play sports or take certain food or drink while pregnant, yet simultaneously celebrate women who have abortions at any point during pregnancy and considering killing preborn human beings to be a private decision between a woman and her doctor.

Other moms who have proven they can remain solid athletes while pregnant include Makenna Myler, who at age 28 while nine months pregnant ran a mile in under six minutes; Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won four Olympic gold medals while three months pregnant with her third child; Alysia Montano, who competed in the USATF’s USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships while eight months pregnant; and Kerri Walsh Jennings, who won Olympic gold in volleyball while pregnant with her third child.

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Taekwondo

Rio veteran Alora banners taekwondo jins in Olympic qualifier – Philstar.com

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Joey Villar (Philstar.com) – May 14, 2021 – 3:40pm

MANILA, Philippines – Rio Olympics veteran Elaine Alora leads a crack, four-member Philippine taekwondo team seeking a berth or two in the Tokyo Games in July as they wage war in the Asian Qualification tournament slated May 21 and 22 in Amman, Jordan.

Alora — who copped a silver medal in this same event the country hosted five years ago to earn a spot to the 2016 Rio Olympics — along with Kurt Barbosa, Arven Alcantara and Pauline Lopez, will leave Friday night along with coaches Carlos Padilla V and Al Christian dela Cruz.

And they are bringing with them the country’s hopes of snaring more slots to the quadrennial event.

Kicking off the Filipinos’ campaign is Alcantara in the men’s -68kgs on Friday while Barbosa (men’s -58kgs), Lopez (women’s -56kgs) and Alora (women’s +73kg) follow suit the next day.

To qualify, they would need to finish in the top two.

If they do, they would join pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and 2016 Rio Olympics weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and rower Cris Nievarez in Tokyo.

National team coach Dindo Simpao is optimistic they could snatch at least two berths.

“We’re hoping for two slots, if not four,” said Simpao in the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Hour.

It will be the first time the national jins are seeing action in a real competition since raking in eight gold, nine silver and four bronze medals in topping the sport in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila.

“Mahirap nung unang mga araw nung pumasok kami sa bubble sa Calamba pero nakayanan naman. Equal footing tingin ko dyan kasi sigurado affected din sila ng pandemic,” said the 31-year-old Alora.

The team will return on May 25, and there is hope they would also bring with them Olympic tickets.

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PH taekwondo jins seek Olympic berths in Jordan

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Pauline Lopez

By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA

Four national taekwondo jins left for Amman, Jordan on Thursday, each one determined to book an Olympic berth when they compete in the Asian Qualification Tournament set May 21 to 22.

Elaine Alora, who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, aims for a second shot at the Games when she joins Pauline Lopez, Kurt Barbosa and Arven Alcantara.

Alora will compete in the women’s +73kg division, Lopez in women’s -56kgs, and Barbosa and Alcantara in men’s -58kgs and -68kgs.

Accompanied by coaches Caloy Padilla and Dindo Simpao, the team hopes to catch the last bus with less than 10 weeks left before the Olympics scheduled July 23 to Aug. 8.

Only the top 2 athletes in each weight class will earn Olympic berths.

Simpao is confident of the team’s chances.

“We expect to earn a couple of tickets to the Olympics. If not four,” he said.

The athletes are raring to get back in competition after spending the last couple of months in rigorous training in a bubble camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

Lopez, who came close to earning an Olympic berth in 2016, said she’s more motivated now than ever.

 “I think I’ve had more experience over the last years and those experiences helped me where I am now,” said Lopez, a two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and 2018 Asian Games bronze winner.

“I’ve experienced Asian qualifying. I almost tasted getting there. I feel like I have nothing to lose and just give my best out there and hope that it will give me a chance to play in the Olympics.”

Alora, who is now competing in a heavier weight class compared to where she competed in the previous Olympics, said she focused on improving her power and speed to prepare for this meet.

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PH taekwondo jins vie for Olympic berths – Manila Bulletin

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Pauline Lopez (MB File Photo)

Four national taekwondo jins leave for Amman, Jordan on Thursday night, May 13, as they seek Tokyo Olympic berths in the Asian Qualification Tournament set May 21 to 22.

Elaine Alora, who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, aims for a second shot at the Games when she joins Pauline Lopez, Kurt Barbosa and Arven Alcantara.

Alora will compete in the women’s +73kg division, Lopez in women’s -56kgs, and Barbosa and Alcantara in men’s -58kgs and -68kgs.

Photo from PTA

Accompanied by coaches Caloy Padilla and Al Christian Dela Cruz, the team hopes to catch the last bus with less than 10 weeks left before the Olympics scheduled July 23 to Aug. 8.

The top 2 athletes in each weight class will earn Olympic berths.

Coach Dindo Simpao, who has been with the team during training, is confident of the team’s chances.

“We expect to earn a couple of tickets to the Olympics. If not four,” said Simpao during the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Hour guesting recently.

The athletes are raring to get back in competition after spending the last couple of months in rigorous training in a bubble camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

Lopez, who came close to earning an Olympic berth in 2016, said she has grown a lot entering this competition.

“I think I’ve had more experience over the last years and those experiences helped me where I am now,” said Lopez, a two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and 2018 Asian Games bronze winner.

“I’ve experienced Asian qualifying. I almost tasted getting there. I feel like I have nothing to lose and just give my best out there and hope that it will give me a chance to play in the Olympics.”

Alora, who is now competing in a heavier weight class compared to where she competed in the previous Olympics, said she focused on improving her power and speed to prepare for her rivals.

Though being sidelined for months due to quarantine restrictions, Alora believes other athletes abroad have also experienced similar predicaments brought by the pandemic.

“Marami ding affected na countries kaya feeling ko equal footing lang naman kaming mga magko-compete. Lahat kami dream makapag-compete sa Olympics, lahat kami gutom,” said Alora, who was the country’s flag bearer in the closing ceremony of the 2016 Rio Games.



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