Olympian Shauna Coxsey defends decision to keep climbing while pregnant

The mother-to-be said the criticism has been 'quite hard to process'. Credit: Shauna Coxsey/Instagram

Olympian Shauna Coxsey has defended her decision to continue climbing while pregnant, saying it feels "more risky to walk down the street".

Britain's most decorated elite climber, who is 39 weeks pregnant with her first child, shares updates about her climbing sessions on Instagram - but has received some backlash for her decision to continue the sport.

The 29-year-old, who retired after the sport's Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, said she "would never put my baby in danger".

She told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It feels way more risky for me to walk down the street. I feel much more likely to trip over on a bumpy road than I do to go up an easy climbing wall."

Coxsey, who is a double World Championship bronze medallist, said outsiders perceive her climbing as risky but she is "actually climbing so well within my comfort zone".

The sportswoman said the criticism has been "quite hard to process" and described online backlash as "bullying".

"Obviously I would not put my baby in imminent danger. I love my baby already and I'm absolutely loving being on this journey," she added.

"People think I might be able to fall and land on my stomach, which is something I've never, ever, ever done or seen happen before.

"I'm trying to articulate how I'm mitigating these risks, but then people don't want to listen to that side".

The mother-to-be retired from competitive climbing after Tokyo 2020. Credit: PA

Coxsey made history at Tokyo 2020 becoming Team GB's first competitor in climbing and finished 10th overall after suffering a back injury.

She retired from the sport competitively afterwards to focus on rock climbing.

The sportswoman has won a series of accolades including becoming the UK's first-ever Bouldering World Champion.

In 2016, she was named in the Queen's Birthday Honours list as a recipient of an MBE – the same weekend she won the IFSC Boulder World Cup title.

Speaking of her pregnancy journey, the Olympian said she was frustrated that other mums-to-be could be put off "doing something they love" due to criticism.

Many have also praised Coxsey online, describing her as "inspirational", and thanked her for helping to encourage other women to keep active during pregnancy in a safe way.

"It's frustrating that other women are getting this judgement and choosing to stop doing something that they love and are comfortable with because of the fear of judgement," she said.

"It is such a sad position to be in - it's bullying."