Vanuatu’s Miller Pata juggles baby and bronze at CWG 2018

It’s not easy making history at the Commonwealth Games – and it doesn’t get any less complicated if you’re looking after a baby at the same time, as Vanuatu beach volleyball player Miller Pata, 29, has found out.

While most athletes have ice baths and massages after games, it’s more likely to be nappy changes and baby feeds for Pata, who nevertheless won bronze with her teammate Linline Matauatu on Thursday. Pata hoisted seven-month-old Tommy in the air and placed her medal around his neck after the win over Cyprus which handed Vanuatu, its first ever Commonwealth Games medal.

Her teammates haven’t had it easy; they have had to organise their own accommodation, babysitting, meals and physiotherapy, after being told Pata couldn’t stay with her baby at the athletes’ village. It remains an unusual situation in elite sport, but it could become more common as an increasing number of women return to competition after childbirth, including tennis star Serena Williams.

“My energy level were different but I managed my food and everything, so I could get back to my normal routine,” said bronze medallist Pata.

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