This basketball player has stunned her fans by returning to the sport to captain her country at the European Basketball Championship just three months after giving birth.
Jelena Brooks Milovanovic, 30, returned to the court in Serbia’s 55-53 win over Belarus at the FIBA Eurobasket tournament last night just three months after giving birth to her son Mateo.
Milovanovic’s teammates said she worked hard after giving birth to make sure she could return to captain her country at the tournament, training with her teammates before changing the newborn’s nappies, feeding the tot and putting him to sleep.
Pictures Credit: Golders & Golders/@jelenabrooks
The quick return to the court comes after maternity leave in professional sport was brought to the fore by Serena Williams. The American tennis ace held the world number one ranking in April 2017 when she took maternity leave.
Williams had won the Australian Open when two weeks pregnant but after giving birth she fell down to 451st in the WTA rankings. The low ranking meant she was likely to be pitted against top-ranked opponents in the early rounds of tournaments and that is what happened: at Indian Wells in 2018 she lost to sister Venus Williams in the third round and at the Miami Open she lost to rising Japanese star Naomi Osaka in the first round.
Power forward Milovanovic said: “A woman’s body is ready for everything, but you don’t know that unless you experience it. The first steps were not easy. I started to practice just two weeks after giving birth to Mateo and at first I thought I had forgotten how to run.
“But with every minute, things got better. I jumped, pushed and pulled until it was all easy again. I can’t be apart from my baby, so the people around me did a great thing. All the girls in the team are like his aunts. He is used to a full house, he is adaptable and happy. They carry him so I can rest a bit. I think he has had a big impact on the atmosphere and the team.”.
Her husband American David Brooks was a first division player in America’s NCAA college basketball league with Niagara, averaging 13 points and four rebounds over three years.
The mother told reporters: “When the national team is in question there is no dilemma. I knew that I would play in the Eurobasket tournament this summer. The baby is very small, so there was not a chance of us being apart, but the people from the Federation have made it possible to be together during the training period.”
Netizen ‘Aplauz’ wrote: “Absolute champion! Proof that the willpower along with love and devotion are forces that lead to success and break barriers.”
While ‘Radoljica’ added “Well done, this is rarely seen. The other athletes should take note of how you represent your country. Bravo.”
And netizen ‘Mateo’ said: “What a beautiful name, I am sure that he will play for Serbia one day too.”
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