“I have been called selfish and greedy for not giving up my place in the Games. But I have learnt to ignore those comments and stay focused on the task at hand,” said Suryani at the Royal Artillery Barracks training centre yesterday.
“I qualified on merit and have every right to be here despite being pregnant. I aim to prove that pregnant women can be just as competitive as anybody else.”
Suryani has been elevated to star status since arriving on Tuesday – the first woman athlete to take part in the Olympics while eight months pregnant.
She is resigned to being in the limelight until the end of her event, the 10m air rifle, which starts on Saturday. And whether she wins a medal or not, she is intent on making her statement for all women – and her soon to be born daughter.
“Of course the pregnancy is always there as a reminder when the baby moves. I try to be as calm as possible and have taken every precaution needed to compete,” she said.
“For me, it’s a matter of living the dream and the Olympic spirit of competing. It’s one of the challenges. If I abandoned it now, I may never have the opportunity again.
“What do I tell my daughter then? That I gave up? That I’m a quitter?”
Suryani, ranked 47th in the world, said the atmosphere in London was exciting and she was quite happy with the Games Village.
“The facilities are excellent. The travelling time to the venue may take a little longer but everything else is in place for us to be comfortable,” she said.
Suryani realises that she will go into action under the full glare of the media, her performance heavily scrutinised and analysed.
“The media attention can be taxing but it won’t affect me. I have learnt to live with it,” she said.
Come what may, Suryani has already endeared herself to the nation and the world with her resolve and grit.
Whether she wins a medal or not, she has earned a place in the record books.
“If nothing else, I will have a memorable story to tell my daughter,” said Suryani.
“I will tell her that she’s very lucky. That she had competed in the Olympics even before she was born.”
A true Olympian mum.