World of Sport

Whitewater kayaker defeats the world champion to win competition… in final month of pregnancy

World of Sport

Sometimes we like to cover inspirational stories on World of Sport. Sometimes we spot a story which is a bit unusual, like a bride making a wedding dress out of Manchester City shirts. And sometimes we find a story which is just, well, bonkers.

The following is a mixture of all three.

Emily Jackson, 23 and a kayaker on the US tour, won the final event of the season at the Payette River Games. To do so, she had to overcome the current world champion.

At any point in time in the year that’s quite an achievement on the white waters of Idaho, but Jackson is in her ninth month of pregnancy.

Less than four weeks before she is due to give birth to her first-born child, she is winning competitions.

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Emily picks up winner's cheque for $4,000 - Photo GrindTV

In fact it was so impressive that the commentator in the footage above does not seem to believe that it could possibly be the case. Rather than assuming a baby is on the way, he wonders if her frame is the result of a beer-belly. [You can watch Jackson in action from 2:16 in our video, and watch the competition beforehand]

Having been impressed by the Malaysian shooter who competed at the London Olympics towards the end of her pregnancy, this is on another level entirely.

Despite a due date of July 19, Jackson has continued all year long on tour, and in seven events bagged two victories along with another four top-six finishes.

No surprises then, that Jackson has picked up a few fans on Twitter.

“She’s awesome!” tweeted Idado River Sports after she had won the race, while Abi Herzberg praised her as a “bad a**”.

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But you would be forgiven for wondering whether Jackson had simply taken an enormous risk with her baby’s health – the answer, she says, is no.

“I was told by several doctors that as long as I was doing what my body was accustomed to that it would be safe for me and my baby,” Jackson said. “With certain instructions such as avoiding impact, I knew what my limitations were and how to paddle within the limits. I also made sure to paddle almost every single day to maintain my physical state to ensure I wasn’t stopping and starting up again which was the doctor’s biggest concern.

“As long as it’s a low-risk pregnancy with zero complications—which I have been lucky to have. Also, this isn’t necessarily the case for every person or every sport. I was lucky to have a risk-free pregnancy and no complications thus far.”

[Find more pregnancy stories and advice on Yahoo! Lifestyle]

And despite the birth now being just a matter of weeks away, Jackson, talking to GrindTV Outdoor, says she would have carried on if she could have done.

“Last weekend was the last event of the US Tour,” Jackson said. “I have been competing since April, and I am shocked that the last two weekends were the events I have won.

“Part of it may have to do with my relaxed attitude where I honestly had no expectations but in my heart always knew I could win. I probably would continue to compete this upcoming weekend if there was one. But I am very excited to go home, wash the baby blankets, and make sure I am ready for the first crazy month of parenthood.”

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