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Eight months pregnant athlete secures Taekwondo gold medal

She also picked up other medals in a non-combat simulated category of Taekwondo known as Poomsae.

Eight months pregnant athlete secures Taekwondo gold medal
Cover Image Source: Twitter/National Sports Festival 2020

A 26-year-old Nigerian athlete is making headlines after clinching a gold medal at the ongoing National Sports Festival while heavily pregnant. Organizers of the multi-sport event, which happens every two years in the country, announced on Monday that Aminat Idrees—who is eight months pregnant—secured a gold in the Mixed Poomsae category in Taekwondo. Idrees, who is seen demonstrating different combat techniques with ease in footage shared on Twitter this week, reportedly also picked up other medals in a non-combat simulated category of Taekwondo known as Poomsae.





"An inspiring outing by heavily pregnant Aminat Idrees who won a gold medal for Lagos at the ongoing National Sports Festival in Benin, Edo State. Aminat Idrees who is 8 months pregnant won gold in the Mixed Poomsae category in Taekwondo alongside her male counterpart, Arowora Roqeeb," the event organizers tweeted. "This is Team Lagos' first gold at Edo 2020. She also won Silver in the female team Poomsae category and an individual bronze in the same category making her one of the leading medalists at the festival.




Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, Idrees said 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." While many found her performance inspiring, some criticized her for taking part in the sport while in such an advanced stage of pregnancy. "This is how they get themselves into problems and stress maternity staff for preventable problems," tweeted @Angela201045315. "This rather Sickening than Inspiring," wrote @igaMoore.




Meanwhile, many others came to Idrees' defense for participating in the sports festival. "Please note: She didn't fight. Poomsae is a set sequence of movements that consists of the various fundamental stances, blocks, punches, and kicks logically arranged in a meaningful order in response to attacks from multiple imaginary assailants," tweeted @Bayoradegboyega. @Otoyosam agreed with this comment, adding: "Please tell them o. I don't know what the uproar is about. She is not in combat, it is a demonstrative category. I don't see how any of the moves affect her health or her babies. If for anything, it makes her and the baby healthier. Her sequencing is brilliant!"




"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," tweeted @Pianomanoppy. Addressing the criticism she's faced online, Idrees said many of those who disapprove of her competing 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 said.




"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," she added. Philip Shaibu, the chairman of the organizing committee of this year's National Sports Festival, said in a statement that Idrees was allowed to participate in the games only after medical examination deemed it okay. "She was certified and cleared to participate. She had also been training for months prior to her participation in the tournament," Shaibu said.

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