Weightlifter gives birth during training

SAO PAULO: Chilean Olympic weightlifter Elizabeth Poblete has given birth to a baby boy during a training session, without having known she was pregnant.

Poblete, 22, who lives in Brazil, said she had felt unwell but had no idea she was expecting a baby. The boy was three months premature and was taken to hospital with his mother, where he remains in intensive care. The hospital in Sao Paulo denied reports it forced Poblete to leave after she was unable to pay for care.

Poblete began to feel unwell during training, as she was preparing to take part in a competition. Shortly after, she gave birth to a baby. The head trainer at the gym, Horacio Reis, said the birth had been "a surprise". "A week ago I acted as a judge in a competition in Chile and this girl was competing. All went well and she won the competition," said the trainer.

Doctors said Poblete must have been about six months pregnant. The strict diet and stringent exercise regimen observed by female weightlifters can cause irregular menstruation, which would explain why the birth was a "complete surprise," according to the head trainer. Poblete finished 12th in the 75kg category at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.