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.
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.— National Sports Festival 2020 (@nsf_edo) April 5, 2021
Aminat Idrees who is 8 months pregnant won gold in the Mixed Poomsae category in Taekwondo pic.twitter.com/rr4fxJCfMs
"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."