REMARKABLE: Pregnant shooter leaves London with a special record
NUR Suryani Taibi will leave the London Olympics without a medal but she won plenty of fans with her steely determination to compete with the world's best at the Royal Artillery Barracks range yesterday.
Aware that she was the focal point for most of the world's media, Suryani steeled herself to shoot as well as she could as she constantly spoke to the baby girl in her womb who had ensured her mother would be a star irrespective of how she performed.
And considering the stress Suryani had been under since it was confirmed that she would compete in the London Olympics despite her pregnancy, the 29-year-old did well to finish 34th in a field of 59.
"I know I could have done better but I tried my best. This was a fantastic chance to pass up and having qualified on merit, I was determined to compete as there may never be a chance to feature in the Olympics again," said Suryani, who is due to deliver next month.
Baby Dayanna Widaya, if Suryani has her way, or Isabella -- her husband's choice -- even played a pivotal role yesterday.
"I was constantly speaking to her, asking her help to let me be perfect with my shots. It was my way of soothing her in the event the shots disturbed her," added Suryani.
"There were times when I could feel her moving but that didn't affect my concentration. I was also not worried about any impact on the baby as I had been told that she would be fine."
The Malaysian shot 392 (98, 97, 99, 98) in the qualifying round when even her personal best of 397 may not have been enough as that would have only pushed her into a shootout with five others. Only the top eight shooters qualified for the final.
Gold and bronze were won by China shooters Yi Siling and Yu Dan respectively while Sylwia Bogacka of Poland took the silver.
"The quality of the competition was very high and I knew that I had to better my personal best to stand a chance of making the final. I tried but it was not to be," said Suryani, who registered her personal best in Germany last year.
With the stress of the Olympics out of the way, Suryani is looking forward to spending time with her baby and family.
"It has been tiring, as I had to continue training despite being pregnant. I will now prepare for delivery and after that, spend time with my daughter and husband. I plan to return to competition next year."
Among those watching Suryani in the stands were Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Chef-de-Mission Tun Ahmad Sarji and National Sports Council director general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong, and they all only had words of praise for Suryani.
Malaysia hopes the experience gained in London will result in the shooter becoming even better upon her return.