This report came out in The Straits Tims today:
Wedding, baby, Games (The Straits Times, 10 March 2009)
By Lin Xinyi
NATIONAL paddler Li Jiawei has just weeks to prepare for her April 25 wedding celebrations in Beijing, and until the end of 2010 to deliver a baby – or she has to wait until after the 2012 Olympics before trying again.
The 27-year-old recently expressed her desire to start a family with husband Li Chao, 36, and has received the blessings of Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president Lee Bee Wah.
And in what is believed to be a first in Singapore sports, the national player and the STTA have agreed on the family-planning process – that the baby must come within 21 months.
The 2010 timeframe is to enable her to recover in time to mount a challenge at the London Games, explained Ms Lee.
In 2011, Jiawei would need to compete frequently on the International Table Tennis Federation Pro Tour circuit to ensure a high world ranking.
The world’s top 20 men and women paddlers gained automatic qualification to the singles draw of last year’s Beijing Olympics.
Athletes usually try to schedule parenthood so that their bundle of joy does not interfere with major competitions.
For instance, British marathon world champion Paula Radcliffe and her husband had planned her pregnancy around her running timetable. She gave birth to a daughter in 2007, and competed at last year’s Olympics.
Jiawei told The Straits Times: ‘I’d like to get pregnant as soon as possible. But it’s up to fate. If it doesn’t happen in time, I will still continue to play – that is my promise to the STTA.’
Whether or not motherhood beckons, the world No. 7 has her sights on a second consecutive Olympic medal and has national women’s team deputy head coach Jing Junhong as her role model.
Asked if she felt pressured to have a baby soon, she said the onus should not be on her alone.
Jiawei added jokingly: “Li Chao is always so busy. He works till late
and sometimes he might be tired.”
I am generally disinterested in stories of Li Jiawei’s impending marriage and her wedding prepartions. But as I did a quick browse through of the above report, I was struck by the last sentence of the story, which was a quote by Jiawei.
It gves you an idea of the sort of long hours that her 36-year-old husband, Li Chao aka Mr Li Jiawei, a self-made businessman, puts at the office.
Here’s a word of advice to Mr Li: if you are serious about trying to have a baby by end-2010, then perhaps you may want to consider not spendng such long hours at the office.
For that matter, because you are already on the wrong side of 30, you may want to consider taking time off work and focus fully on thejob of baby-making when the appropriate time comes around every month.
Baby-making is not as simple as it seems. According to this BBC report, which is on a study on male fertility by scientists rom Bristol and Brunel Universities, the older the man is, the longer it is likely to take for his partner to conceive, regardless of her age.
“In addition, women whose partners are five or more years older than themselves have less chance of conceiving in under a year of trying than women whose partners are of the sam age, or younger.” said the BBC report.
“The study concluded that in a couple who prove ultimately to be fertile, the probability that it will take more than 12 months to conceive nearly doubles from around 8% when the man is under 25 to around 15% when he is over 35.”
(Note: Jiawei is 27)
You can read the full report here.
So, Mr Li, if you want to make your wife-to-be really happy and fulfill her wish of being a mother next yar, then you had better not work so hard at the office lah.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan