Nigerian athlete wins Taekwondo gold medal while eight months pregnant

Aminat Idrees took home gold, silver and bronze medals in Taekwondo all while eight months pregnant during her country’s National Sports Festival.

Aminat Idrees, 26, clinched several medals at the Nigerian National Sports Festival in the Mixed Poomsae category of Taekwondo. Idrees is eight months pregnant, but the Poomsae technique is a non-contact event that focuses on tactical moves simulating attack and defense.

Idrees was representing Lagos State at the festival deemed Nigeria’s “local olympics,” and won gold in the pair poomsae, silver in the team poomsae, and bronze in the individual poomsae. She has won medals every year since 2012 in Taekwondo.

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

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

While many spectators took to Twitter to express their disapproval of Idrees competing in the sport so late in her pregnancy, others came to her defense, praising her technique and performance.

“A lot of people don’t understand what Taekwondo is actually about. I feel this is an avenue to educate people about this,” explained Idrees. “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.”

Idrees said that her doctor cleared her to participate in the non-contact sport.

“It is easy for me because it is something I have been doing for over 18 years,” Idrees told ESPN. “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.”

Idrees encouraged pregnant women to exercise so long as they consult their doctors first.